'Heart-breaking' farewell as Appledore shuts after 200 years

15 Mar 2019
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GMB’s Appledore members are today bidding an emotional farewell as the famous shipyard shuts after more than 200 years.

The North Devon yard has built almost 200 vessels since it opened in 1855 and is absolutely crucial to the South West economy and British shipbuilding.

In what has been described as a ‘cruel blow’ Babcock have not allowed Appledore workers now working to Devonport to return and walk out of the yard with their colleagues for a final time today.

This is a very sad day

Jake Mclean, GMB Representative at Appledore

GMB has been campaigned to stop the closure since it was announced last year, handing in a 10,000 strong petition to Parliament [1], and suggesting several plans to keep the shipyard viable. [2]

Earlier this week the union accused Geoffrey Cox MP of a dereliction of duty as the famous shipyard looks set to close in his constituency. [3]

The ‘First in Last Out’ pub in Bideford – run by a former Appledore worker - is staging a farewell party for more than 100 people tomorrow [Saturday March 16, 2019]. 

Jake Mclean, GMB Representative at Appledore, said:

“This is a very sad day. Walking around this historic shipyard this morning seeing all the shutters down and everything locked up is heart-breaking.

“Babcock haven’t even let the workers from Devonport come back today to walk out one final time. That’s a pretty cruel blow. At the sound of the final hooter at 12.30 a proud shipbuilding industry and workforce will fall silent for the last time.

"I am privileged and proud to be able to say that I have worked here for the past seven years.

“Appledore has been part of the fabric of North Devon for hundreds of years – but thanks to cut throat business plans and inaction by Conservatives, today it will die.”

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