Island Life Magazine Ltd December 2008/January 2009 - Page 62

life ON THE WATER Left to right: Geoff Banks (Mayor of Cowes), Father Michael Purbrick, Canon Richard Emblin, Kenneth Kendall Lieutenant Irish Sirmons USN (BBC broadcaster), Margaret Lloyd (East Cowes Town Mayor), George Chastney (Cowes Heritage), Barry Myland (representing the US Ambassador (President Cowes Rotary), Alan Wells (IoW Council and Deputy Cowes Mayor), Lt Irish Sirmons, Dr Regina Faden Robert Tuttle) (representing the State of Maryland and the Ark and Dove Society). The Ark and the Dove The US State of Maryland was first in the Americas where religious freedom was guaranteed in their constitution, and its link with Cowes is strong. In 1633, on 22nd November, two ships left from near the Esplanade on a historic voyage which carried on board the founding fathers. On the exact day 375 years later three representatives of the US Ambassador in London and of the State of Maryland were in Cowes to commemorate the voyage of The Ark and The Dove. The voyage was led by Lord Baltimore, a convert to Catholicism, who had asked King Charles 1 if he could establish a place in the New World where religious freedom could be practised, and Charles agreed. The first settlement was called St Mary’s City, after the King's wife Henrietta Maria. 62 By Anthony Churchill The 400 ton Ark and the 45 ton Dove did not have the easiest of starts. A few days after leaving from the Isle of Wight they met a violent storm and the Dove was thought to be lost. But no, three weeks after reaching the West Indies the Ark was astonished to see the Dove head into port - complete with the settlers’ luggage. At the Saturday event at Cowes, the Royal London Yacht Club flew the Stars and Stripes and the Maryland Flag, and there was a dedication service held by Canon Richard Emblin and Father Michael Purbrick, an Anglican and Catholic priest, together. The distinguished guests led by Geoff Banks, Mayor of Cowes, included Vice-Lord Lieutenant Sir Guy Acl and, our Island MP Andrew Turner, Isle of Wight Councillors Arthur Taylor, Lady Sarah Pigot, George Brown, Alan Wells, and Margaret Webster, and East Cowes Mayor Margaret Lloyd and Councillor Peter Lloyd. Representatives of Cowes Rotary, Cowes Heritage, Cowes Business Association, and the Classic Boat Museum were also present. Many from Cowes Town Council took part, including Lynn Hammond, Paul Birch, Tim Gladdis, Grahame Deacon and Roger Hendey. After the ceremony all repaired to the Island Sailing Club - a suitable second yacht club as the two ships’ crews had come ashore in the land between it and the RLYC. There, gifts were exchanged and coffee and a repast had been organised. The Island's new funky radio station www.wightfm.com