It was hard to hold back the tears last night as Ordsall's community put on a spectacular send-off for the now demolished Salford Quays Cargo Cranes.
The Cranes, the most prominent visual reminder of Salford Quays industrial and maritime heritage, were demolished last month on the order of Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart, after a lengthy campaign to save them (see here and see here and see here). …But last night they were re-born in style as the centrepiece of Ordsall's annual Lighting The Legend event.
Around two hundred local children, parents and people from the estate paraded around Ordsall's streets, setting off from Ordsall Community Arts and carrying hand made cranes-related lanterns in the shape of ships, some with photos of old dockers as sails, plus a giant lantern bottle.
The parade concluded at St Clement's Church where the `ships' sailed past the reconstructed lit-up lantern Cranes for the last time, to the background sounds of waves and seabirds.
Then the Cranes – re-titled Love and Marriage after their drivers' nicknames - came alive, chatting to each other about their history, and dancing to Beatles and Bowie music from each era – from installation in 1966 to decommissioning and removal to Ontario Bay in 1988, to 2013 and their demise…
`Who would have thought that we would have seen the changes we've seen?" said Love "One minute this place was filled with ships and cargo, and now it's shops and Deirdre Barlow. But this is no longer the place for a couple of old relics like us… It's been good though…"
"It's been a pleasure working with you, lad" replied Marriage
"The pleasure's been all mine…" sighed Love.
As Frank Sinatra's Love and Marriage boomed out of the speakers, the Cranes' lights went out and a giant pair of wings arrived to take them to crane heaven...
"When they rehearsed it yesterday I had to leave the room, I was in tears" said Gail Skelly, of Ordsall Community Arts which organised the event "It was lovely wasn't it?
"We wanted to do a commemoration of the Cranes' life because they went with a fizzle at the end, and loads of people around here didn't even know that they'd gone" she explained "It was done with such a lack of ceremony, which I think was a shame.
"We started talking to local people about the stories of the Docks and the one we liked most was that they were called Love and Marriage, because the two main drivers were dead close, and all the lads on the Docks used to say `Here's Love and Marriage'. So we came up with this little story to characterise the Cranes, that they might have had that conversation.
"We were inspired by the Sphinx in Egypt" she added "They have a light show which makes them speak, so we wanted to do that with the Cranes and make them speak."
At the end of the event - titled Ships, Soups and Sparklers - children lit sparklers in front of the `dead' Cranes, hopefully symbolising a brighter future for what's left of Salford's heritage…
Gone but not forgotten. This was a fitting, stunning, all dancing, all lit-up community tribute to the cherished Cranes. A tribute that should, once again, make Salford's councillors hold their heads in shame.
* For loads more photos and videos of the event see Ordsall Community Arts Facebook site - click here