The team behind the restoration of the Eastbourne pleasure boats has been given a cash boost.
Devonshire ward councillors agreed to a funding request to help restore the boats.
Mariners Lloyd Stebbings and Danny Goldsmith are committed to returning the two boats – The William Allchorn and The Southern Queen – to their glory days through the Allchorn Please Boat Trust.
They are the last two pleasure boats to have operated off Eastbourne seafront and have a rich history, going back around 200 years.
The boat enthusiasts are also planning to restore the ex-Eastbourne lifeboat, the Duke of Kent.
Lloyd and Danny approached Devonshire ward councillors Margaret Bannister, Steve Wallis and Stephen Holt for £1,250 from the devolved budget to insure the workshop housing The Southern Queen, situated next to the Lifeboat Station at Fisherman’s Green.
The building also has a modest visitor centre with old photos and information about the boats’ history, as well as DVDs to purchase and an educational area for children, which Lloyd and Danny would like to grow in the future. There is also a public viewing gallery for people to see the boats as they are being restored.
Lloyd, a boat builder by trade, said, “We’re very grateful for the support of the councillors, especially Councillor Wallis who has been with us from the start, keeping in contact frequently. We’ve had a vision for a long time of the boats taking passengers for trips around the Eastbourne seashore but it’s not a quick or easy process to restore a boat, let alone three, especially as Danny and I both have full time jobs, but I’m confident we’ll get there in the end.”
Councillor Bannister said, “These boats are such important vessels for Eastbourne. Our grant has been spent on insurance cover for the building, its contents and £5 million public liability cover so schools and the public can continue to access the viewing gallery and listen to talks on what the team and their volunteers are doing, which will enable them to raise more money for the project.”