Michael Portillo, politician turned presenter, has visited Grimsby for his latest TV series – showing the nation how wind is changing our area’s fortunes, whilst seafood continues to provide an employment bedrock.
Great Coastal Railway Journeys is the latest in Portillo’s popular BBC series and tomorrow (Friday, 2 June) the show visits Grimsby and Cleethorpes on its way around the east coast. On the stop-off in Grimsby, it visits two global leaders in their respective fields – Ørsted and Young’s. In the promotional material for the show, wind energy is described as ‘an important new stage in the town’s history’.
Meanwhile, over at Young’s, the show tells the nation how half of all the scampi eaten is produced in Grimsby! It was of course the expansion of the railways back in 1848, that sparked the development of Grimsby Docks – beginning with the Royal Dock in 1852 – and a rapid boom in the fishing trade.
North East Lincolnshire Council Leader, Cllr Philip Jackson, joined company bosses and local employees in hoping that the national show would help further people’s understanding of how Grimsby and the South Bank of the Humber is leading the way in offshore wind and food processing – providing opportunities for the future.
Ørsted – a world-leading renewable energy company – has developed the world’s largest offshore wind operations and maintenance centre at the Port of Grimsby. Now operating six wind farms along the East Coast, it provides green energy to more than three million homes. A total of 80 per cent of people employed are from the local area.
“I grew up in Grimsby’s traditional fishing industry. I love the fact that I can stay in the local area to help develop the renewable energy sector, while also boosting the local economy,” said Bridie Salmon, who is now a wind turbine technician apprentice at Ørsted.
Lauren Little, senior stakeholder advisor for the Humber at Ørsted (pictured in main image and above with Michael Portillo) added: “It was a pleasure to meet with Michael Portillo and his team to show them the East Coast Hub here in the heart of Grimsby. Ørsted is proud to be a leader in offshore wind, and as someone who is born and bred in Grimsby, I’m proud for it to be pioneered from here. The new opportunities to the town have been huge in the last ten years, and we’re just getting started.”
Meanwhile, the TV show’s visit to Young’s highlights the importance of the seafood processing sector to the area – Grimsby still being the centre of British seafood production. Today Young’s remains the town’s largest private employer with 1,700 people at its landmark Young’s House building (pictured below).
Julian Fletcher, marketing director at Young’s Seafood, said: “At Young’s we have been perfecting British seafood for over 200 years and have long called Grimsby our home. We’re incredibly proud of our community, and its rich heritage as the thriving centre of the UK seafood industry. It was fantastic to be able to meet Michael and to talk about the history of Young’s and our products.”
Stressing the importance of ensuring Grimsby has a growing future both economically and for its communities, Cllr Philip Jackson explained how millions of pounds was being invested into its urban heart. Good training and youth opportunities, plans for new good quality urban homes, and the re-invention of the town centre and its public spaces were all being developed to match the job and career opportunities highlighted in the show, he said.
“As a council we have attracted millions of pounds in Government grants to improve our town centre and realise our ambition to provide opportunities for our young people – to show them that they can stay here, learn here, have careers here and importantly live in a town that provides good choices of entertainment, housing and leisure.”
The show, which airs at 6.30pm tomorrow (Friday 2 June), is called ‘Grimsby to Humberston Fitties’ and also features Michael Portillo taking a ride at Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway. He also visits the Fitties, the smallest pub, and meets record Humber swimmer Pete Winchester and the Water Rats swimming in the dock. The episode is also available on BBC iPlayer to view now.
All pictures taken from the show.