Campaign is launched

The campaign team behind a bid to save Eastbourne’s pleasure boats has revealed £5000,000 is needed to get them back on the water.

The Southern Queen and William Allchorn have not run for a number of years because of vandalism and the recession. The the boats, which regularly used to take tourists on trips around the Beachy Head Lighthouse and beyond, are rotting on the beach.

Last week boat enthusiasts announced they were planning to buy the boats in a bid to restore them to their former glory and use them for trips out at sea. A trust is to be set up along with a Facebook page and more than 400 people have pledged their support online with popularity for the campaign gaining momentum.

Lloyd Stebbings, who runs Pevensey Bay Marine, said he intends to set up the trust and is also appealing for private donations and corporate sponsorship.

“This is a very rare opportunity to help or become part of a restoration project to return the boats to the sea and restore some of Eastbourne’s pride as a top UK holiday resort,” said Mr Stebbings, who said the first step would be to buy the two boats from their current owner Jason Foster.

The Southern Queen was completed in 1950 and used to take visitors around the lighthouse with her sister vessel, the Eastbourne Queen.

The William Allchorn was a purpose-built pleasure boat, commissioned by the Allchorn Brothers of Newhaven in 1950, and funded by the Ministry of Defence.

Mr Stebbing said in the industry’s heyday there were 113 pleasure boat licences issued in Eastbourne and were all moored along the coast from the Redoubt Fortress to the Wish Tower.