A CHILDREN'S author has teamed up with a Hampshire businessman in a bid to help save the Hythe Ferry.

Simon Chadwick has written a book about a lonely seal searching for a friend and hopes to raise £10,000 towards the cost of keeping the ferry service afloat.

Simon has joined forces with Hythe computer expert John Greenwood, of Greenwood IT Services, who has helped finance the printing.

The book's publication follows a meeting between Blue Funnel Ferries and Hythe and Dibden Parish Council, which is also involved in the campaign to save the ferry.

Simon, of Dibden Purlieu, was approached about the possibility of publishing a children’s story in aid of the service.

He had already written and illustrated a trail for Hythe Library called A Seal Swam In From The Sea. Now the heart-warming tale has been updated and turned into a book, with 2,000 copies on sale.

The book costs £6, with £5 from every sale going to support the ferry.

As reported in the Daily Echo, the service between Hythe Pier and Town Quay, Southampton, is facing a cash crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in a huge fall in passenger numbers.

The vessel is not currently running and no date has been set for its return.

A parish council spokesperson said: "A Crowdfunding appeal by a Hythe woman, Ashleigh Mutimear, has raised more than £15,000 so far.

"Hampshire County Council, New Forest District Council and Southampton City Council have given grants totalling £22,000 but there is still a shortfall."

A ferry spokesperson added: "It's been confirmed that all three councils will support the ferry, which means we will have some financial support over the next few months.

"The money will help us get the boat refitted but we still have to get the business back on its feet."

A Seal Swam In From The Sea is available from the ferry office on the pier and other businesses in the Waterside area, including Toys Ahoy, Oyster Financial Planning, WHSmith Local and Sandra's Florist.

The book can also be ordered by mail via Simon's website, www.Ceratopia.co.uk.