Acle pupils craft a new boatshed

THE boatbuilding ambitions of students at Acle High School have been given a boost with the completion of a new boat shed.

For the past six months 30 boys and girls have renovated and expanded a tumble-down tractor shed in their school playing field which will serve as a workshop for them to restore boats.

At a topping out ceremony, it was officially opened by two of the students involved in the project.

Tom Barnes, 16, of Wickhampton, who spent 40 hours helping to rebuild the feather boarded shed, and Daniel Rowe, 12, of Halvergate, representing the boat restoration crew, cut the ribbon.

The completion of the shed is a milestone in the school’s boat restoration project which is being financed with a �15,400 grant from the Broads Authority’s sustainable development fund.

While the shed was being built 12 students have been learning boat building skills by restoring a dinghy and working on a wooden half decker sailing boat lent by Ludham Bridge boat yard.

Supervised by science teacher and sailor Ian Ayres and technology technician Jim Bondi, they have replaced the floor of the 8ft clinker-style dinghy with teak decking donated by Brooms Boats, fitted two stubb keels and recycled the old school tug of war rope into a rubbing strake.

Most Read

For the future, the school has a 22ft wooden Seagull boat bought on Ebay to work on as well as a Mirror dinghy.

Several of the students said they had learnt team building and practical skills and the experience had whetted their appetite for boating.

Fifteen year old Fiona (Vicky) Lee, of Freethorpe, has painted and put up featheredge boards, broken up pavement slabs and helped lay the shed’s concrete floor.

“It has been a very good experience and it’s not something I am going to easily forget,” she said. “It will help my grades and it’s been fun at the same time. I’ve enjoyed learning and understanding how to build things.”