A feature of the drive from the Headland into town is the “countdown clock” on the historic quay. This displays the days to go to Tall Ships. It’s just as well it is not displaying the cost of the event since the clock would now be showing in excess of £3,000,000. This huge figure includes over £1,000,000 for the event management (event infrastructure, entertainment programme, event staffing costs and site preparation). The firm providing at least some of these services, Touchline Event Management, went bust last week, but was immediately bought out by Churchill Contract Services, a contract cleaning company, based in Hertfordshire. So there is a sizable amount of the money associated with the Tall Ships Event which will be leaving the town rather than being retained in the local economy.
Apart from yellow lines everywhere the likely legacy of the Tall Ships coming to Hartlepool will be a huge debt and a cadre of qualified Ship Liaison Officers, ready to spring into action at a moments notice should ship liaison ever be required again. I have heard a rumour that Mayor Drummond’s next brilliant idea is setting up a training academy to ensure Hartlepool can supply the world with fully qualified flag sellers for Coronations. Given the advanced age of our current monarch then flag seller at coronations might be a better long term career move than Tall Ships Liaison Officer?