The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company has announced a string of celebrations throughout 2017 to mark the iconic Scillonian III passenger ferry’s 40th birthday this spring.

May 2017 is the 40th anniversary of Scillonian III, the group’s longest-serving passenger ship to date.

This milestone is being celebrated with a host of events, including a firework display over Penzance harbour, events on board the ship, public history exhibitions and ticket giveaways, to involve the wider communities of both the Isles of Scilly and west Cornwall.

In May, a pop-up exhibition will be held in Market Place with Pop-up Penzance, showing memorabilia including photographs and souvenirs from the Scillonian’s 40-year history, and display boards explaining more about the ship. The exhibition will run from May 15 – 24, and will be free for the public to visit.

A party will be held on board the Scillonian while she is berthed in Penzance on May 24 for staff, guests and VIPs, concluding with a firework display over Penzance harbour at approximately 9.15pm for everyone in the town to enjoy.

In June, the celebrations will travel across to Scilly, where a lunch reception will be hosted on board the ship whilst she is docked at the quayside on St Mary’s.

Sharon Sandercock, marketing and communications manager of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, said: “This is a very special year for Scillonian III, and we wanted to celebrate her milestone anniversary with our local communities, both in west Cornwall and on the Isles of Scilly.

“The public exhibitions will celebrate the history of the ship, with a selection of original materials on display and some never before seen photographs and drawings.

“We hope regular passengers of the ship, and even those who have yet to experience this spectacular journey to the islands, will join us to celebrate the anniversary.”

Scillonian III was officially launched by HRH The Duke of Cornwall, Prince Charles, on May 17, 1977, before making her first voyage on May 25.