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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 October, 2003, 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK
Plea to restore steamer
Medway Queen
Campaigners hope to restore the paddle steamer to her former glory
Campaigners are hoping a historic paddle steamer will be added to the UK's core collection of historic ships, to give her a greater chance of being restored.

The Medway Queen, the last surviving example of her type, is now laid up at Damhead Creek, on the Hoo Peninsula, but campaigners are hoping to see her back on the water.

Jonathan Shaw, MP for Chatham and Aylesford, is lobbying the Arts Minister, Estelle Morris over the future of the boat, which was built in 1924.

He said: "This is a unique vessel. It has played a very important role in our maritime history, including saving thousands of men during the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940.

Medway Queen
The Medway Queen has been decorated as well as being unique
Jonathan Shaw MP

"She was also involved in shooting down three enemy aircraft - the Medway Queen has been decorated as well as being unique."

He said there are between 2,000 and 4,000 historic ships and boats in the UK, ranging from national icons such as HMS Victory, to smaller craft such as the Medway Queen.

The MP said: "There are probably many good examples that need rescuing.

"The Medway Queen has not been able to make the progress that we want as it is not part of the core collection. It is on a designated list that doesn't allow the doors to open for lottery funding."

The Medway Queen Preservation Society has spent years trying to raise lottery funds to restore the boat.

Spokesman Noreen Chambers said: "What we are trying to do is restore this beautiful paddle steamer to a passenger-carrying service.

"Last time, we were a bit premature in putting our bid in. This time, we have taken advice from all sorts of experts, including people who actually run passenger ships."

Steamer returns to the Clyde
14 Jun 03  |  Scotland
Paddle steamer afloat again
07 Feb 03  |  England
Paddle steamer returns to Norfolk
06 Nov 02  |  England

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