‘Save our shipyard’ – campaigners march through Sunderland in hope of reopening Pallion Shipyard

Campaigners have held a march and handed in a petition to Sunderland City Council calling for Pallion Shipyard to be restored and put back in working order.

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 10:43 am

The Pallion Shipyard Partnership’s ‘Save Our Shipyard’ rally left Keel Square on Wednesday, November 17, and arrived at the Stadium of Light ahead of a full meeting of Sunderland City Council, where questions were set to be asked on the issue.

As part of the demonstration, a petition which has been signed by more than 2,600 people who are in support of plans looking at securing investment to restore the site back to operational use, was handed into the council.

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March organiser Brian Moore standing in front of Pallion Shipyard.

Sunderland City Council leader Councillor Graeme Miller, has previously stated that the local authority will welcome businesses looking to invest inside in the city, however the council do not have ownership of the site.

Brian Moore, the march organiser, likened today’s march to that of the Jarrow March in the 1930’s and praised the support they have received so far.

He said: “The support has been amazing, even walking to Keel Square, we’ve been stopped and recognised for the campaign and people have told us that they will be joining us at the stadium.

"The response has almost made my eyes water because it is so heartfelt, people get it, they get the idea of apprenticeships, jobs and money coming into the Sunderland economy.

"If you think most councillors get elected with a lot less votes than the amount that have signed our petition, that is a big statement from the people of Sunderland.

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"Like the Jarrow March, they marched to hand a petition in, we’re marching to hand a petition in, the difference between us and the Jarrow March is, we must win.”

Shipbuilding began to decline in Sunderland towards the end of the 1970s and the city’s last shipyards eventually closed in 1989, bringing an end to over six centuries of shipbuilding on the Wear – with Pallion Shipyard the only remaining shipyard in the city.

The group marched from Keel Square in Sunderland city centre to the Stadium of Light, where a full council meeting was due to take place.

Speaking to the Echo earlier this month, Brian said: “We want to see jobs for the next generation and see young people secure apprenticeships and skills that will be transferable for different roles around the world.

"Teenagers leaving school could have a massive opportunity to become engineers, earn a good wage and Pallion Shipyard could be the ideal pathway to facilitate that development.”

He commented: “I’m not here to say that I want to come back home, I made a life choice to move away from Sunderland because there was no work.

"What I want to see is Sunderland become a good engineering city once again with high skilled jobs for young people leaving school as there is nothing for them at the moment.

"People keep saying that we need to protect Nissan but what about investment in other industries within the city, how come places like Teesside and Hartlepool are seeing investment but not Sunderland?”

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