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Eastbourne’s Historic Boats Restoration Back on Course

22 November 2017

Eastbourne’s historic pleasure boats could soon be back afloat as a working heritage attraction, thanks to recent donations to a new restoration project.

Southern Queen

 

Allchorn Maritime Trust, have begun restoration of the Southern Queen, one of Eastbourne’s former pleasure boats, built in Westham back in 1950. Grounded on Fisherman’s Green beach in recent years, the project has been taken on by boat builder and former Coastguard Lloyd Stebbings, Naval Architect Daniel Goldsmith and Marine Scientist Denise Goldsmith.

The aim of the project is to restore her and the ‘William Allchorn’, returning both vessels to the sea as working heritage attractions. The works have been possible thanks to volunteers and donations from local businesses which have seen the addition of much needed restoration equipment and timber.

Featuring on the National Register for Historic Ships, the Southern Queen could be afloat in as little as two and a half years as a working pleasure boat, subject to ongoing donations, with the William Allchorn to follow after.

Thanks to the creation of a new Maritime Education & Heritage Centre, visitors can see the works for themselves, with an upstairs viewing platform overlooking the working restoration area at Fisherman’s Green.

The viewing platform also displays a small exhibition detailing 235 years of pleasure boat heritage with artefacts possibly dating as far back as the early 1800’s.

Lloyd Stebbings, Director at Allchorn Maritime Trust said “We are always happy to welcome people to the shed, with Schools and Groups by arrangement, its vital that this local history is not forgotten or lost to time. We are always looking for Sponsors and donations to keep the project moving forward while grant funding is applied for.”

Eastbourne Borough Council Lead Cabinet Member for Tourism and Enterprise, Cllr Margaret Bannister said “It is wonderful to see these beautiful boats finally beginning their transformation back to former glory. This is an important step in protecting our coastal heritage and preserving a wonderful asset for our local community, as well as creating a viable tourist attraction once again.”

Restoration works have been possible thanks to donations from local businesses including Alsford Timber, Ensign, Plan a Head, Parker Building Supplies, Hobbycraft, Pevensey Bay Marine, Bradleys Grab Hire, Arabian Tent Company, Marine Project Solutions Ltd, EuroTek Marine Electronics, Mr Bobbins Embroidery, Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd, Price & Company, Brewers, Gibbs & Dandy, Woollard Earthmoving Ltd, Coussens Crane Hire and Marlow Ropes.

Allchorn Maritime Trust, with help from a sponsor, have also recently saved Eastbourne’s former lifeboat, the Duke of Kent, which has also now joined the restoration project. It arrived from Scotland by road on the 15th November and can be seen at Fisherman’s Green by its original RNLI boat house.

For a glimpse at the latest restoration work or to visit the heritage exhibition, visit the boat shed at Fisherman’s Green on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9.30am to 3.30pm. For more information or to donate visit www.allchornpleasureboattrust.org.uk or call 07885 022436.

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