Liverpool’s schoolchildren turn out in force to welcome the Boat of Hope

Hundreds of secondary schoolchildren in Merseyside gathered to welcome Bernie Hollywood OBE, the 63-year-old philanthropist behind the Boat of Hope campaign for youth mental health, as he embarks on a series of school visits in his home town of Liverpool during the month of June, with 650 people gathering at a special assembly at Gateacre School in Belle Vale. 

Backed by ParentPay, the UK’s leading provider of school payment and parental engagement services and the principal sponsor of the Boat of Hope campaign, Bernie will be rowing solo across the Atlantic in December as part of the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge to raise awareness of youth mental health, and funds for charities Samaritans and Love Rowing

Officially named the ‘City of Liverpool’ by Liverpool’s mayors at a high-profile naming ceremony in October, the Boat of Hope will be taken on tour to over a dozen schools nationwide, including five in the Liverpool area, giving children a chance to see for themselves the specially commissioned 6m x 1.5m Rannoch Adventure R10 solo ocean rowing boat which Bernie will inhabit and row for the duration of his transatlantic crossing of up to 90 days. 

Children will also be able to examine the boat’s exterior artwork designed by renowned artist, Justin Eagleton, who has created a mural that draws together multiple images to depict a journey of mental health. The mural also includes artwork from the winners of a nationwide secondary school art competition run by ParentPay, and which includes two winning entries from Gateacre School. 

At each school visit, Bernie will also run a series of discussions and workshops on mental health to encourage young people to talk more freely about mental health and to offer practical help to those who might need it. 

Bernie Hollywood OBE said: “The optimism and resilience of young people never ceases to amaze me. But there may well be times when they feel overwhelmed, so it’s important that we find ways of allowing young people to open up about mental problems so that they don’t have to suffer in silence.  

“It’s a real privilege to get the chance to meet and talk to so many secondary school pupils in my home town and I really hope the tour and wider campaign offers renewed hope and practical support to those who might be struggling.” 

Clint Wilson, ParentPay director, said: “We are incredibly grateful to our school’s community for the fabulous support they have given to the Boat of Hope campaign. We’re sure that both pupils and staff will greatly enjoy seeing the boat up close and finding out direct from Bernie about the awe-inspiring transatlantic adventure that awaits him.

“Bernie’s tireless ambition to improve the mental health of young people has struck a chord with so many, and we’re proud to offer him all the support we can.” 

More information on the Boat of Hope campaign can be found at To donate to the cause, please go to ‘ 

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