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Save the Duke of Kent RNLI Lifeboat
The Duke of Kent is now home and we are ready to start the restoration process.
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"Part of Eastbourne's heritage has been now been saved". The keys have been handed over to the boat shed and we can now move forward in restoring these vessels to their former glory.
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"We need your help in saving part of Eastbourne's maritime heritage"
The William Allchorn
The Allchorn pleasure boats have long been part of Eastbourne's major tourist attractions for many decades and has formed part of the local maritime heritage.
One hundred years ago Eastbourne had a thriving pleasure boat industry, which by then was already over a hundred years old. Eastbourne had many boat yards such as Gausdens in Beach Road, later to become Sisks who built rowing skiffs for £1.00 per foot (many years ago) and not forgetting Prangnell and Sons at Street Farm in Westham Village. At one point there were 113 separate boat licences granted for Eastbourne between the Wish Tower and the Redoubt fortress with such old Eastbourne families as Boniface, Hide, Sayers, Huggett to name but a few and not forgetting the Allchorn family. After two world wars and a drop in tourism they decreased until the early sixties when there were only two familys left the Sayers and Allchorns. Mr Sayers thought enough was enough and in 1965 sold his boats Southern Queen and Eastbourne Queen’ (built by Prangnell and Son) to the Allchorns. The Eastbourne Queen was sold off and the Southern queen became the new sister boat to the William Allchorn which was built in Newhaven by Cantell in 1950 for the Allchorns. Both boats were designed and built to be beach launched and spent their entire working life operating off the beach west of Eastbourne pier. The Eastbourne Queen is now believed to be lying somewhere on the bottom of the Norfolk Broads.
These two remaining boats are all that is left of 200 years of local boating history, they represent and stand for all that has gone before, if the boats are sold off or are left to rot that door to the past will be closed forever.
We are attempting to raise funds to purchase the boats and protect them with a trust so they will remain in and work in Eastbourne. The team at this time includes Marine Professionals and carpenters; and I have had offers of help from people in all walks of life to help with the restoration and even offers to buy tickets for the first trip out ! Both boats need a major refit including engines but two reports on the hull have shown that they are in surprisingly good order with only remedial work needed.
We are looking for donations to help secure the future of the boats and then when the trust is set up we can start fund raising in earnest. We have ideas to raise money for the restoration but need help to get going.
All money donated or raised will go directly to fund the project.
The aim of the project is to return the boats to working condition and running the pleasure trips again along Eastbourne’s seafront which they have done for the past 65 years, We also plan to have a visitor/history and education center.
We have Mr Brian Allchorn (The original owner and the last of the real old boatmen of Eastbourne) on the team in an advisory capacity and also Mr Roland Prangnell who was involved in the building of the Southern Queen.
The Southern Queen
Woollard (Earthmoving) Ltd