A MAJOR relaunch event to celebrate the long-anticipated return of the Hayling Ferry takes place tomorrow.
The reopening celebration will feature honorary appearances, including celebrity and ballet legend Wayne Sleep.
The free events will take place at the Ferry Boat Inn, on Ferry Road, Hayling Island from 12.30pm.
Mr Sleep will officially declare the Pride of Hayling reopen, along with the mayor of Havant Faith Ponsonby.
They will be among the first guests on board for her first voyage to Eastney, where they will be met by the mayor of Portsmouth David Fuller.
The family entertainment includes live music from Havant singer Chloe Anne, face painting from Face Fanatics and photo opportunities with Portsmouth FC’s mascot Nelson and former player Alan Knight.
There will be fireworks and a pyrotechnic display to mark the opening and the Police Cadet’s Guard of Honour will attend.
Edwina West, general manager at the Ferry Boat Inn said: ‘We are delighted to assist with the festivities and are excited to see the ferry up and running again. ‘We’re hoping for a good turnout and it will be nice for the community to come together to launch the Pride of Hayling.’
After 30 years’ service the Hayling ferry stopped running in March last year after the former operator went into administration.
The Hayling Ferry Trust has subsidised new owners, Baker Trayte Marine, to run the service for around a year.
The trust has raised more than £11,000, which is in addition to £5,000 given by Virgin billionaire Richard Branson.
Hayling councillor Clare Satchwell, who spearheaded the trust’s campaign, said: ‘It’s exciting that the island will be reconnecting with Portsmouth again.
‘It’s the best example of community spirit as residents from Hayling and Portsmouth have got behind the cause.
‘Tomorrow’s event will be really good, there are free activities on and it will be a real celebration.’
The first crossing from Hayling to Eastney will take place at 1.30pm.
Organisers are offering a £1 return trip on the ferry for the whole day.
For more information on future services visit haylingferry.net