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Thames Sailing Barge Trust launch sailing barge Pudge Centenary crowdfunding appeal

by Thames Sailing Barge Trust 28 May 15:15 BST
Pudge Harwich © James Willmott

The Thames Sailing Barge Trust based in Maldon, Essex has launched a crowdfunding appeal to help sailing barge Pudge complete her accommodation refit in time for her centenary.

The Trust received a grant of £328,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), enabling much of the work to be completed on the restoration of their Thames sailing barge, Pudge. However, due to the rising costs and the challenges experienced during the pandemic, more funds are needed to return Pudge to sailing condition.

Mick Nolan, trustee and skipper of the Thames Sailing Barge Trust said: "Pudge is looking like new, with restored wooden decks and hatches, and we are currently working on the total refit of the passenger accommodation, which will offer comfortable and affordable two-berth cabins. Pudge will be one hundred in July and we hope to be able to complete as much of the work as possible by then and have her rigged in time for her 100th birthday."

S.B.Pudge a Thames spritsail barge, built in 1922 in Rochester, Kent was one of the last wooden barges built. Pudge is also a Dunkirk Little Ship, being involved with the evacuation of troops in 1940. These major restoration works will allow the Barge Trust to continue to operate Pudge for the use of local groups and members of the general public, giving those that sail with us some experience of the way these iconic early 20th century cargo vessels were worked on the East Coast rivers and estuaries. The work has allowed some trainee shipbuilders to extend their skills to larger wooden vessels. The project has reached deep into the community providing opportunities for volunteers, youth organisations and schools to research the early history of Pudge and to use modern media and displays to share their output with the wider public.

John Whittingdale, the MP for Maldon, said, "For many people, the Thames barge is a symbol of Maldon and the Trust does great work in maintaining the two it owns and at the same time helping to keep alive traditional shipbuilding skills"

If you can spare a few pounds to help the Thames Sailing Barge Trust continue in their work to help keep these icon vessels sailing for the public, and preserve traditional sailing and maintenance skills, please visit our crowdfunding page here:

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