MUSICIAN Barry Hyde hopes an anthemic sea shanty will help in the battle to bring the historic Adelaide ship back to its birthplace.
Rather aptly, the Futureheads frontman is gearing up to record a track called The Banks of the River Wear, at a studio on the banks of the city’s river owned by Peter Brewis from band Field Music.
Money raised by the charity single when it’s released will go towards Sunderland City of Adelaide Recovery Fund (Scarf) which is helping the fight to bring the world’s oldest surviving clipper ship to Wearside.
Barry said: “We don’t have any reminders of our former industrial glory and something like bringing back this very famous ship – which has done more than a million miles without burning any fossil fuels and has made 64 trips to Australia – would be an amazing icon and symbol for the city.
“The river is very important to us. Our university is there, our football stadium is there, and we need this ship as a mark of respect and as a mark of the contribution we made to the world.”
Although Barry and other Futureheads members will feature on the track, it will also feature a number of other guest artists and choirs.
“We want it to have a modern folk quality,” Barry said. “It’s not a Futureheads song. I’ll be playing the piano on it but I don’t think I’ll be doing the lead vocals. Instead I’ll focus on writing and arranging it.”
He added: “My big ambition is that through Martyn Mcfadden, at A Love Supreme, we can get the crazy corner at the Stadium of Light to learn and sing it.
“To have that happen once would be amazing. The song has that football-esque chant to it.”
The vessel, which was built in Sunderland in 1864, has lain on a slipway in Ayrshire for more than a decade, but is due to be moved to Adelaide, Australia.
However, Scarf and other heritage groups believe the ship should be brought to Sunderland to be refurbished as a celebration of our industrial heritage and as a tourist attraction.
Campaigner Peter Maddison, from Ashbrooke, who has led the fight for 12 years, has recently boarded the ship in protest.
He has packed enough provision for a “sustained occupation” and plans to remain on board in protest of the ship being moved to Australia.
The former councillor launched a similar demonstration in 2009 when the historic boat was threatened with being scrapped.
l An open meeting about the Adelaide campaign will take place tomorrow from 7pm at St Mary’s Church, in the city centre.
l An acoustic charity night called Adelaide Aid will take place at the Beer House, Bridge Street, from 8pm on Thursday.
It will feature music from singer- songwriter Brian Oglanby.
THE Adelaide, five years older than the Cutty Sark, sailed between London and the Australian city that bears its name, carrying passengers and wool.
Its working days ended in 1893 and it was bought by Southampton Corporation for use as a sanatorium and isolation hospital.
Two years ago, the Scottish government announced a group from Australia as the preferred group to move and restore it.
But Mr Maddison says Britain offered the best conditions for maintaining a vessel such as the Adelaide.
“If this ship is transported, if she survives the massive journey to Australia without breaking up. Once she is down there she will bake under that hot sun,” said Mr Maddison. “The wooden planks will warp, shrivel and dry out.
“They will break the iron frames and there will not be anything left of our beautiful Adelaide within two years of being in Australia.”
Jim Tildesley, project director with the Scottish Maritime Museum, who own the Adelaide, said: “This man has done this before. It will not hinder our plans or change our minds about the ship’s future.”