Boat of Hope – Liverpool Cathedral

17th May 2023

Liverpool Cathedral has announced this week – Mental Health Awareness Week – that it will host the final stop of the Boat of Hope campaign that has spent the last two years travelling round the country raising awareness of mental health and loneliness.

The Boat of Hope docks at Liverpool Cathedral on its mission to raise awareness of mental health in young people.

The boat, rowed by charity guru and social entrepreneur, Bernie Hollywood, OBE, from Liverpool across the Atlantic at the end of last year, will be available for visitors to view in The Well at Liverpool Cathedral.

Bernie entered the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge which saw him row 3,540 miles in 109 days across the Atlantic to Antigua to raise awareness of child suicide and depression across the UK and around the world.

A cause close to his heart, Bernie has extensive personal experience with the mental health struggles of young people and wanted to see if engaging with children and students through the medium of the creative arts and active adventure was possible.

He hopes the ‘Boat of Hope’ will keep the conversation going around mental health.

The boat, called ‘City of Liverpool’, was named in honour of his late father and grandfather, who spent their entire working lives at the Port of Liverpool. It measures 7 metres x 2 metres.

Sue Jones, Dean of Liverpool Cathedral, said:

“The Boat of Hope project, along with Bernie’s remarkable achievements, have shone a light on the importance of mental health and wellbeing in the youngest members of our society. 

“Through their work with schools around the UK, Bernie has not only been able to tackle his challenge to cross the Atlantic but has also encouraged many young people to open up about mental health. 

“We are pleased to be able to host this final chapter at Liverpool Cathedral.”

Bernie said:

“I am truly thrilled that the final stage of our hugely successful two-year Boat of Hope campaign is concluding with this exhibition in the majestic Liverpool Cathedral.

“Our mission over the last two years was to successfully open as many conversations as possible with primary children on their mental wellbeing and with young adults on suicide awareness across the world, through creative arts and adventure. 

“After my solo row and the work that has been done with schools in the UK, we are now here in my home city, with the unique opportunity for people to come and see the ‘City of Liverpool’ ocean-going rowboat on display alongside artwork produced by young people as part of the project.”

Over the past 40 years Bernie has raised £42 million for UK and overseas charities.

He is a world record-holder running the longest distance in seven days and has received countless awards for his philanthropy over the last two decades.

With the support of ‘Boat of Hope’ ambassador Natalie Reeves Billing, alongside her social enterprise Split Perspectivz CIC, the project has featured a host of activities and resources for children and young people. A children’s picture book, called ‘Bernie and Boatie’, was developed to engage primary school-aged children and is available to purchase from Liverpool Cathedral shop.

Natalie Reeves Billing and her team also worked to create 5,000 child mental health boxes full of books and creative resources for primary school children across the Liverpool City Region during Bernie’s journey. Inside each was a competition, asking children to translate their vision of hope in words and art and the results of that competition are available for visitors to see in the collages and individual pieces of work displayed around The Well, alongside the ‘Boat of Hope’ exhibition.

The ‘City of Liverpool’ is on display in Liverpool Cathedral from Saturday 27th May to Sunday 4th June.

Boat of Hope

The ‘Boat of Hope’ campaign is a charitable initiative in which serial fundraiser Bernie Hollywood OBE successfully rowed solo across the Atlantic Ocean, raising awareness of the rise of child suicide and depression and fundraising for Samaritans and Love Rowing.

The campaign is a collaborative effort, with various parties lending their support pro bono through a range of channels and initiatives. The ‘Boat of Hope’ campaign first kicked off in Autumn 2021, with launch events held in London and Liverpool, before Bernie completed his epic row in December 2022.