Worldwide event hopes to illuminate issue of dwindling lighthouses and lightships

The International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW) is an annual event and the SULA Lightship in Gloucester is participating for the second successive year. The event was started in 1998 by a Scottish HAM Radio Amateur and has grown into a massive global event with almost 400 participating lighthouses and lightships.

The basic objective of the event is to promote public awareness of lighthouses and lightships and their need for preservation and restoration, and at the same time to promote amateur radio and to foster International goodwill.

Lighthouses are fast becoming an endangered species with the introduction of Global Positioning Systems and Satellite Navigation and the automation of the light source to solar power which has resulted in the withdrawal of management personnel (Keepers). In the UK, Trinity House, who manages the lighthouses, have started a program to extinguish lighthouses and sell them. It is hoped that this ILLW weekend event will highlight this situation and help prevent further desecration of these magnificent structures all around the world.

This year the event takes place on 18-19 August.

The Sula Lightship will be open to the public on both days from 10am till 5pm. There will be an opportunity to learn about lightships and small groups can climb up into the light-tower. Presentations will be held during both days.

Members from the Cheltenham Amateur Radio Association and the Gloucester Amateur Radio and Electronics Society will be manning the Radio room on board and will talking to other stations around the world. The general public will be able to see them in action and listen-in to those signals and conversation from exotic and remote locations. The station will operate HF radios for long-distance calls and VHF/UHF radios for more local contacts.

Weather permitting, people can enjoy coffee and teas on deck of the historic lightship, enjoying a perfect view of the Gloucester-Sharpness canal.

The SULA Lightship is the home of Lightship Therapies, Gloucester’s Holistic Centre. During the weekend, various taster treatments and demonstrations will be available. For those who are not too interested in ships and radios, a pampering treatment is a relaxing alternative.

SULA also hosts the Gloucester Buddhist Centre and information about Buddhism is available. Why not have a look at the only Shinghon Buddhist temple in the UK?

With lots of activities over the weekend, this is a perfect family day out with something for everybody!
Please call SULA on 01452-527566 for more details.

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