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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 June, 2005, 07:46 GMT 08:46 UK
Dunkirk rescue boat given grant
Medway Queen
The boat has also been a floating nightclub on the Isle of Wight
Lottery funding has been granted to a campaign group hoping to restore a paddle steamer to her former glory.

The Medway Queen Preservation Society, based in Kent, has been given 35,900 for a repair survey on the boat's hull.

An estimated 7,000 men were rescued from Dunkirk in France by the Medway Queen during World War II.

The paddle steamer is currently at Kingsnorth, Hoo. It is believed up to 2m might eventually be granted for the stabilisation of the boat's structure.

Wyn Davis, a naval architect now working with the preservation society, said it had been agreed with the Heritage Lottery Fund that repairs could be made to the hull, steelwork and the upper deck.

He thinks any work would see the boat lasting for another 50 to 75 years.

"There's every chance I think that she can be saved in some form or other," said Mr Davis.

Medway Queen
The Medway Queen paddle steamer was built in 1924

He will now use the 35,900 grant - announced on the society's 20th anniversary on Tuesday - to produce re-fit specifications before any further funding is considered.

Lottery claims officers visited the Medway Queen in May to assess whether a heritage grant could be made.

Chatham and Aylesford MP Jonathan Shaw said the funding announcement was "great news".

The preservation society's Brian Goodhew added: "The interest in the Medway Queen remains very, very high.

"I'm always impressed by the people, even now, who say to me, 'how's she doing, where is she?'."

Plea to restore steamer
09 Oct 03 |  Kent

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