Heritage steamship begins voyage to Bideford

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Heritage steam ship, SS Freshspring is towed along the river Severn in Gloucestershire from Newnham-on-Severn to Sharpness, the first leg of the ship’s journey to Bideford. Picture: Contributed
Heritage steam ship, SS Freshspring is towed along the river Severn in Gloucestershire from Newnham-on-Severn to Sharpness, the first leg of the ship’s journey to Bideford. Picture: Contributed

Heritage steam ship SS Freshspring has made the first leg of her voyage to Bideford.

The vessel, one of the few small steam coasters left in the country, has been towed along the River Severn in Gloucestershire, from Newnham-on-Severn to Sharpness.

It was towed by the Appledore-based marine contractors, Keynvor Morlift Ltd.

The Steamship Freshspring Society has secured a £155,000 National Heritage Memorial Fund grant to bring the boat to Bideford, where it is hoped she will be eventually restored.

Heritage steam ship, SS Freshspring is towed along the river Severn in Gloucestershire from Newnham-on-Severn to Sharpness, the first leg of the ship’s journey to Bideford. Picture: ContributedHeritage steam ship, SS Freshspring is towed along the river Severn in Gloucestershire from Newnham-on-Severn to Sharpness, the first leg of the ship’s journey to Bideford. Picture: Contributed

Chairman John Puddy said the condition of the ship’s hull would be assessed at the drydock in Sharpness, before works are carried out to enable her to be towed to Bideford towards the end of August.

“This is the first major step in bringing the ship back to operating condition,” said Mr Puddy.

“She will become a static maritime heritage exhibit in Bideford while the trust works towards major funding for the full restoration of the vessel.

“Once the ship is berthed in Bideford, she will be worked on by volunteers who will carry out restoration work and prepare her for opening to the public.

“The trust is already working locally to inspire and support young people into careers in the maritime sector and in engineering.”

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