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Old lady of Broads emerges

PUBLISHED: 14:45 16 February 2009 | UPDATED: 09:17 11 May 2010

CREST OF A WAVE: The former trading wherry the Albion is ready to be flaunted during the summer months

CREST OF A WAVE: The former trading wherry the Albion is ready to be flaunted during the summer months

A GRAND lady of the Broads has just emerged from her winter make over ready to flaunt herself for the summer season.

The 11-year-old, 23-ton, black sailed, former trading wherry, Albion, has undergone major surgery as part of a £100,000 restoration project.

A GRAND lady of the Broads has just emerged from her winter make over ready to flaunt herself for the summer season.

The 111-year-old, 23-ton, black sailed, former trading wherry, Albion, has undergone major surgery as part of a £100,000 restoration project.

Norfolk Wherry Trust, which maintains and sails her, has spent a record £70,000 on replacing her keel and rotten timbers over the last two winters.

The work was carried out by master shipwright Maynard Watson and his team at the Excelsior Yard on Oulton Broad where she was built in 1898.

During the winter of 2008 they replaced her wooden keel with a steel model designed by Trust volunteer shipwright Paul Reynolds to correct a 'hog' or deformity which could have had dire consequences for the integrity of her hull. From October to January this year the team have replaced the all important stem post and heavy mooring timbers.

After her relaunch at the end of January, Albion was iced in at Oulton Broad. Now safely back at her Ludham base, the giant 60ft sailing barge, the oldest wherry on the Broads, will be prepared for this coming charter season by volunteers who are members of the Norfolk Wherry Trust.

One of her crew, Paul Gowman said: “Albion is a working girl, busy earning funds to keep herself by transporting people back to the graceful days of the Edwardian era for a special day out, a birthday or anniversary party and giving them a unique experience. She can also provide a very different place to hold a business meeting away from interruptions.”

Albion can take a party of 12 and a crew is part of the package, although passengers are welcome to join in.

For more information about Albion, how to charter her or support her by joining the Norfolk Wherry Trust go to www.wherryalbion.com

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