Liverpool Cathedral welcomes the ‘Boat of Hope’


Following his successful solo row across the Atlantic, Bernie Hollywood OBE JP, introduces the ‘Boat of Hope’ exhibition to visitors at Liverpool Cathedral, from Saturday 27 May to Sunday 4 June.

Bernie Hollywood, a charity guru and social entrepreneur from Liverpool, entered the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge with the aim of shining a spotlight on the continued rise of child suicide and depression across the UK and around the world. Noted as the world’s toughest endeavour, this solo journey saw Bernie row 3,540 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, culminating with his arrival in Antigua.

A cause close to his heart, Bernie has extensive personal experience with the mental health struggles of younger people and wanted to see if engaging with children and students through the medium of the creative arts and active adventure was possible. The purpose of the ‘Boat of Hope’ was to open a conversation about feelings around mental health. 

During the journey, which lasted over 100 days, Bernie’s trip was fraught with danger, technical issues, illness, injury and loneliness. Despite this, he remained resolute in his determination, wanting to understand how alone people can feel when they experience depression and low mood.

The boat rowed by Bernie Hollywood across the Atlantic, the ‘City of Liverpool’, was named in honour of his late father and grandfather, who spent their entire working lives at the Port of Liverpool.

Measuring 7 metres x 2 metres, it will be available for visitors to view, resting at the heart of The Well at Liverpool Cathedral.


Sue Jones, Dean of Liverpool Cathedral, commented, “The Boat of Hope project, along with Bernie’s remarkable achievement, has shone a light on the importance of mental health and wellbeing in the youngest members of our society. Through their work with schools around the UK, Bernie has not only been able to tackle his challenge to cross the Atlantic but has also encouraged many young people to open up about mental health. We are pleased to be able to host this final chapter at Liverpool Cathedral.”

Bernie Hollywood OBE JP, Founder of the ‘Boat of Hope’, remarked, “I am truly thrilled that the final stage of our hugely successful two-year Boat of Hope campaign is concluding with this exhibition in the majestic Liverpool Cathedral.


Our mission over the last two years was to successfully open as many conversations as possible with primary children on their mental wellbeing and with young adults on suicide awareness across the world, through creative arts & adventure. After my solo row and the work that has been done with schools in the UK, we are now here in my home city, with the unique opportunity for people to come and see the ‘City of Liverpool’ ocean-going rowboat on display alongside artwork produced by young people as part of the project.”

With the support of ‘Boat of Hope’ ambassador Natalie Reeves Billing, alongside her social enterprise Split Perspectivz CIC, the project has featured a host of activities and resources for children and young people. A children’s picture book, called ‘Bernie and Boatie’, was developed to engage primary school-aged children and is available to purchase from the Liverpool Cathedral shop.

Natalie Reeves Billing and her team also worked to create 5000 child mental health boxes full of books and creative resources for primary school children across the Liverpool City Region during Bernie’s journey. Inside each was a competition, asking children to translate their vision of hope in words and art. 


The results of that competition are available for visitors to see in the collages and individual pieces of work displayed around The Well, alongside the ‘Boat of Hope’ exhibition.

Visitors to Liverpool Cathedral can take a closer look at the ‘City of Liverpool’ from Saturday 27th May to Sunday 4th June.

We look forward to welcoming everyone.