Hundreds of people marched along Bideford Quay this morning (Saturday) with one clear message: “Save Appledore Shipyard.”

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham HobbsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham Hobbs

Shipyard workers past and present, union workers, councillors, political parties, families and members of the wider community joined the march in support of the yard.

It comes as fears work has completely dried up for the yard, and workers face four-hour-round trips to Devonport yard.

After marching from Jubilee Square to Victoria Park, the rally gathered - flags held high - and listened to speeches from various representatives.

Jake McLean, GMB representative, is a fabricator at the yard and has been working there for seven years.

On Tuesday he will be travelling to Parliament with UNITE, GMB and shipyard representatives to meet with MP Goeffrey Cox and defence minister Gavin Williamson.

They will then travel to Babcock’s headquarters to hand in the petition to support the yard, which has had more than 8,000 signatures.

Mr McLean told the Gazette: “I am just completely overwhelmed at the response we have had today.

“I’m hoping that Babcock realise they have got all the community behind this company.

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard in Bideford today (Saturday). Picture: Sarah HowellsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard in Bideford today (Saturday). Picture: Sarah Howells

“I hope it puts pressure on them to put more work into the yard and keep it open.”

During his speech to the crowd, Mr McLean thanked everyone who had turned out, and shouted “197 not out”, to which the whole crowd cheered and waved their flags and placards.

There was much criticism at the absence of Torridge and West Devon MP Geoffrey Cox, who was unable to attend due to a commitment as his role as Attorney General.

North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones, who brought up the shipyard in Parliament this week, also did not attend.

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard in Bideford today (Saturday). Picture: Sarah HowellsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard in Bideford today (Saturday). Picture: Sarah Howells

Torridge District Council leader Jane Whittaker reassured crowds she understood Mr Cox was working behind the scenes to help save the yard and that he was disappointed he could not attend.

She said: “Today has been a good start - it needs to be powerful; that’s what we need, powerful representation to put pressure on the government.

“I know Geoffrey Cox has been working behind the scenes but he needs to do more and I need to do more, which I will be doing.”

But others were not so forgiving. David Chalmers, speaking on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, was quick to ask ‘where are our MPs?’ - to much booing from the crowd.

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham HobbsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham Hobbs

Mr Chalmers, who stood for the Torridge and West Devon seat at the last election, said he walked past the Irish naval vessel moored up at the shipyard every day and felt proud to know it had been built in the village.

“Appledore Shipyard stands out as a bright light in a region which is too dependant on low paid jobs,” he said.

Bideford mayor Doug Bushby, Northam mayoress Jasmine Davis and Devon County Councillor Andrew Eastman also spoke to the crowds.

Mr Bushby said: “It’s a fantastic amount of people; it just goes to show the strength of support for the shipyard.

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham HobbsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham Hobbs

“If it was to close it would be a devastating blow to the local economy, and not only to the people of Torridge - it would be a national disgrace.”

Scroll down for more photos from the rally in Bideford today.

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham HobbsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham Hobbs

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard in Bideford today (Saturday). Picture: Sarah HowellsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard in Bideford today (Saturday). Picture: Sarah Howells

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham HobbsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham Hobbs

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham HobbsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham Hobbs

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard in Bideford today (Saturday). Picture: Sarah HowellsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard in Bideford today (Saturday). Picture: Sarah Howells

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham HobbsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham Hobbs

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard in Bideford today (Saturday). Picture: Sarah HowellsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard in Bideford today (Saturday). Picture: Sarah Howells

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham HobbsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham Hobbs

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard in Bideford today (Saturday). Picture: Sarah HowellsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard in Bideford today (Saturday). Picture: Sarah Howells

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham HobbsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham Hobbs

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard in Bideford today (Saturday). Picture: Sarah HowellsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard in Bideford today (Saturday). Picture: Sarah Howells

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham HobbsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham Hobbs

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham HobbsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham Hobbs

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham HobbsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham Hobbs

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard in Bideford today (Saturday). Picture: Sarah HowellsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard in Bideford today (Saturday). Picture: Sarah Howells

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham HobbsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard. Picture: Graham Hobbs

The rally to save Appledore Shipyard in Bideford today (Saturday). Picture: Sarah HowellsThe rally to save Appledore Shipyard in Bideford today (Saturday). Picture: Sarah Howells