It was an incredibly moving sight last night as we walked by Tower Bridge and saw the Rainbow Warrior III, at anchor on the Thames, come into view. Lights illuminated her majestic 50-metre tall masts, and a full moon shone down on the river as we headed into the Design Museum for a gathering of supporters and friends to mark the inaugural visit of the ship to the UK – and the 40th anniversary of the birth of Greenpeace.

The atmosphere alone would have made it a very special occasion, but little did many people realise what was in store. Our friends from the band The Good, the Bad and the Queen had decided to perform a set of their music for the occasion, from an impromptu stage set up on the helideck of the Warrior.

As the band struck up, everyone moved to the quayside to watch an amazing performance. We’d already been really honoured by the band agreeing to come together, for the first time in three years, to perform a benefit gig for us scheduled for later that night – but to first have the band play for the crew of the Warrior, a couple hundred friends and supporters and staff was an absolute gift. Thank you so very much to the band – Damon Alburn, Tony Allen, Paul Simonen and Simon Tong, as well as all the other musicians.

After the first song, there was a quiet moment as Damon began to speak, saying: “We’re hear to celebrate the new Rainbow Warrior, we’re here to celebrate 40 years of Greenpeace.”  Then the crowd erupted. The previous Warriors have long upheld a proud tradition of confronting environmental injustices across the world, and our new Rainbow Warrior is set to carry this forward, whilst doing so more sustainably. The sun and wind will provide 90 per cent of the energy needed to power her across the seas, with the remaining 10 per cent coming from a state of the art hybrid engine.

I think many of us felt pretty emotional, thinking of the work ahead for the Warrior, and our organisation as a whole that is, sadly, still needed. But I also felt a touch of pride in our colleagues, friends and supporters – those who were there last night, and those far away, who remain so committed to righting these wrongs and moving towards a greener, more peaceful future. It was a night and a memory to cherish – and now that it’s over, it’s time to get back to work.


Catch our web video series "Stories from the Rainbow Warrior" and see the maiden voyage through the eyes of our newest activists, the New Hands on Deck follow their updates on Facebook Twitter Storify YouTube our Webcam and Flickr