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Blue Peter Badge Ambition Remembered as QM2 Liner Celebrates 10th Anniversary

RMS Queen Mary 2 Manual An insight into the design, construction and operation of the world's largest ocean liner
4 March 2014
Stephen Payne
Out Now

More than 300 photographs and illustrations of Queen Mary 2, many published for first time – including an iconic Haynes cutaway

The principal naval architect of the Queen Mary 2, who was once awarded a Blue Peter badge for a writing a letter expressing his desire to design and build a Superliner, has now written a Haynes Manual about the liner to celebrate its tenth anniversary.

As a boy of 12, Stephen Payne was spurred into writing the letter when the show commemorated the Queen Elizabeth (1940) and proclaimed in the 1972 Blue Peter Annual that ‘The Queen Elizabeth was the last of a great age –a Superliner, and nothing like her will ever be built again’.

Stephen says:

“I had already set my sights on designing and building a new superliner, and for the respected Blue Peter programme to declare that this would never happen was a real shock. Having just learnt how to write letters of complaint at school, I wrote to Blue Peter, declaring my intentions to build a superliner come what may and included some of my design ideas.”

Hopeful of receiving a coveted “gold” Blue Peter badge, instead the producers sent him a “blue” Blue Peter badge and a letter advising him not to be ‘too disappointed’ if his superliner dream never came to fruition.

Stephen went on to become the principal naval architect and director of project management of the Cunard Line ocean liner RMS Queen Mary 2 - the most famous and fastest passenger ship in operation today.

Now Stephen has written a book which includes more than 300 photographs and illustrations of Queen Mary 2, many published for the first time.

RMS Queen Mary 2 Manual, which is published by Haynes Manuals, also includes unique insights from Stephen about the design and construction of the ship.

The foreword to the book is written by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh:

“Queen Mary 2 is the last in the line of the Atlantic Ocean passenger liners and, as this fascinating book makes clear, by far the most technically developed. This splendid book tells the whole story intriguing detail.”

On 12 January 2004, the day Queen Mary 2 departed on her maiden voyage, Blue Peter came on board and presented Stephen with a gold badge during filming for the show in recognition of his achievement and tenacity.

Stephen says he holds it as dear as the OBE he received in 2005 from HM The Queen for ‘Services to the Shipping Industry’.

He said: “It remains one of my most prized possessions and I have great delight in taking it to the many schools where I give talks about striving for achievement. After all, the gold Blue Peter badge is much rarer than the OBE.”

The major 10th anniversary celebrations for Queen Mary 2 will begin later this year on 9 May, marking the point where she became Cunard's flagship on completion of her maiden transatlantic crossings in April 2004.

All three ships of the Cunard fleet will arrive together in their homeport of Southampton and sister ships Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth will salute the flagship's first ten years.

The day will feature special sail-pasts, a celebratory lunch and a spectacular fireworks display send-off as all three ships set sail together from Southampton that evening, with QM2 leading the way.

On that day, QM2 will begin the first of two special commemorative crossings to, and then from, New York to underline her role as the only passenger ship in the world maintaining a scheduled service across the Atlantic, something a Cunard ship has done since 1840.

QM2 has remained unchallenged as the world's largest, longest, tallest, widest and most expensive ocean liner ever built.

At 1,132 feet in length QM2 would be taller, if stood on her stern, than the tallest building in Europe, the Shard in London, and would be more than three times the height of St Paul's Cathedral.

With 1,310 passenger staterooms she boasts over four times as many rooms as the capital's famous hotel, the Dorchester.

She took a million hours to design, eight million hours to build and the one thousand miles of welding used to hold this amazing liner together would stretch from London to Moscow. In her first decade of service QM2 has sailed the equivalent of three times to the moon and back.

About the author

Stephen Payne is the principal naval architect of the Cunard Line ocean liner RMS Queen Mary 2. He received an OBE in 2005 for Services to the Shipping Industry, is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Institution of Naval Architects and is designated a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI). He lives in Hampshire.

The information on this page is supplied courtesy of Haynes Publishing, please credit accordingly if you intend to use it. For more information or to request a review copy please contact Spirit PR on 0117 944 1415 or email Haynes PR

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