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Rebuilt Medway Queen Home In Kent

Monday, November 18, 2013

Rebuilt Medway Queen To Arrive At Pier In Rochester On Tuesday 19th November After Completion Of Work On Hull In Bristol

The arrival takes place in three stages: arrival on the Medway towed by tug “Christine”, berthing at Gillingham Pier and a celebration event for members and guests says Medway Queen Society.

The rebuilt historic Medway Queen paddle steamer will arrive home on Tuesday 19th November at approx. 1.30pm to Gillingham Pier in Rochester, Kent after being towed from Bristol over the past week.

This follows completion of the rebuilding of the hull of the Dunkirk veteran ship at a dry dock in Bristol organized by GMB supported Medway Queen Preservation Society.

It is being towed by the tug “Christine”, operated by A. J. & A. Pratt of Rainham. It reached Beachy Head yesterday afternoon and turned the point at Margate last night. Progress of the tow can be followed at www.marinetraffic.com/ais/.

The Medway Queen was originally built by Ailsa Shipbuilding Company for the New Medway Steam Packet Company, for the service between the Medway Towns and Southend-on-Sea. She spent the whole of her working life in this area except for occasional excursions and, of course, for her wartime service.

It saw active wartime service between 1939 and 1945 with her finest moment in 1940 when the ship and her crew made seven crossings to the beaches of Dunkirk rescuing 7000 British and French troops. Her bravery and that of her gallant crew lead to the title “Heroine of Dunkirk" being bestowed.

The Medway Queen Preservation Society Committee has been the driving force in the restoration of the Medway Queen. The Society was instrumental on getting the Lottery money and European funding that enabled them to set up workshops to train young people through apprenticeships. Many of these have learned many engineering and other skills and go on to find jobs.

The Medway Queen Preservation Society is based in the Medway area of Kent, but draws support from all around the world. It is a volunteer led society, but employs professionals for the rebuild of the ship. The society's aim is to restore the ship, bring her back to working condition. The rebuild of the ship's hull has been done in David Abel’s dry dock, right next to the SS Great Britain in Bristol.

Brian Burton, GMB activist and chair of GMB supported Medway Queen Preservation Society Committee, said, “We have planning the arrival in three stages: arrival on the Medway in charge of the tug “Christine”, berthing at Gillingham Pier and, finally, a celebration event for members and guests later.”

Paul Maloney, GMB Regional Secretary, said, “GMB and many others have backed the restoration of the Medway Queen from the very beginning.

It is wonderful to consider that it is will be home in Rochester on 19th November for the next stage of its total restoration to begin.

The work and enjoyment that the whole project has brought to the area is a tribute to the many volunteers who have driven the project.”

Ends

Contact: Brian Burton Medway Queen Preservation Society Committee Chairman on 07714 689933 or Bob Stokes on 07985 595770 or the Medway Queen Preservation Society on 01645 575717.

 

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