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All aboard the Lydia Eva

PUBLISHED: 16:53 23 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:28 03 July 2010

All aboard: The Lydia Eva opens as a floating museum on Saturday.

All aboard: The Lydia Eva opens as a floating museum on Saturday.

Laura Bagshaw

A tide of goodwill from Great Yarmouth will accompany the long-awaited launch on Saturday of the historic Lydia Eva as a floating museum.

Volunteer tour guides were given their final prep talk on Monday while finishing touches were made to the 80-year-old vessel in preparation for a new chapter in her colourful history.

Volunteers: Tour guides on board the Lydia Eva.

A tide of goodwill from Great Yarmouth will accompany the long-awaited launch on Saturday of the historic Lydia Eva as a floating museum.

Volunteer tour guides were given their final prep talk on Monday while finishing touches were made to the 80-year-old vessel in preparation for a new chapter in her colourful history.

It marks a dream come true for preservationists who have battled to save and restore the vessel since 1989.

Dona Watson, trustee for the Lydia Eva and Mincarlo Trust, said everyone involved in the project was delighted people could finally go aboard the ship. She said: “I've only been on board the trust a while but it is so exciting to see what they have achieved.”

Built in 1930 for Gorleston fisherman Harry Eastick, and named after his daughter, she finally came home to Yarmouth in May, mooring at Town Hall Quay.

The vessel has been restored in a project costing more than £1m and the fish hold, which one day in 1937 held a season's record catch of 220,000, has been converted into a display area with panels telling the story of the ship and the herring industry.

Mrs Watson said: “The museum doesn't just tell the story of the Lydia Eva, it's about the history of the fishing industry in Yarmouth.”

The vessel provides a unique insight into the workings of Yarmouth's one-time illustrious fishing industry. The crews cramped living quarters boasts eight cosy bunks and along with the wheel house, has been totally restored by the International Boat Building College in Oulton Broad.

Visitors to the vessel will hear how the 12-strong crew would be at sea for three days during local trips but also endured the cramped conditions for months on end when the vessel sailed to Scotland.

They will also learn about the superstitious traditions held by the crew of the Lydia Eva - including never leaving port with the ships cat, Badger.

In 2007 the trust was awarded an £850,000 lottery grant to restore her and the journey to restoration has also been helped by several local companies and Yarmouth Borough Council, which made annual contributions to the trust for the vessels maintenance.

People will be able to board the Lydia Eva, listed alongside the Cutty Sark as one of Britain's 60 most important ships by the National Historic Ships' Unit, for no charge from Saturday to Thursday between 10.30am and 3.30pm.

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