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£650,000 boat unveiled at Great Yarmouth port

PUBLISHED: 17:50 22 February 2019

Blake Saunders, 9, from Great Yarmouth won a regional school competition which involved primary school pupils coming up with a new for the new boat. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Blake Saunders, 9, from Great Yarmouth won a regional school competition which involved primary school pupils coming up with a new for the new boat. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

A new £650,000 pilot boat has been unveiled by the primary school child who named it - marking a significant investment in commercial activity at the port in Great Yarmouth.

The new pilot boat, Horatio, named after Norfolk�s most famous son, Lord Nelson PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodThe new pilot boat, Horatio, named after Norfolk�s most famous son, Lord Nelson PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Horatio - named after Norfolk’s most famous son, Lord Nelson - represents a major upgrade on the previous pilot boat which had been in use at the town’s port since 1979.

The boat is used to transport pilots out to vessels so they can steer them into the port.

Blake Saunders, nine, from Great Yarmouth, won a regional school competition to name the RHIB craft.

Blake Saunders, 9, from Great Yarmouth won a regional school competition which involved primary school pupils coming up with a new for the new boat. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodBlake Saunders, 9, from Great Yarmouth won a regional school competition which involved primary school pupils coming up with a new for the new boat. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Having fended off hundreds of other suggestions, the nine-year-old was full of smiles as he declared the 13-metre-long boat open for service.

Inspired by a school project he did on the naval hero at Southtown Primary, Blake’s entry of Horatio was a clear winner with more than 6,500 votes being cast in a public vote last summer.

Jim Buck, head of marine operations at Peel Ports, said the name was very fitting given Lord Nelson’s status in Norfolk.

The new pilot boat, Horatio, named after Norfolk�s most famous son, Lord Nelson PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodThe new pilot boat, Horatio, named after Norfolk�s most famous son, Lord Nelson PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Mr Buck added he was delighted to see the boat finally ready for service.

“The boat really does look fantastic and will make a real difference to our marine operations both in its reliability and capability,” he said.

“It is a lot more comfortable, is more powerful and marks a significant investment into our operations in Great Yarmouth.”

Mr Buck said he was delighted by the local engagement Peel Ports had received following the announcement of the competition last year.

Blake’s dad, Ben Saunders, who accompanied him on-board Horatio for the launch, described his pride at his son’s name entry being chosen as the winner.

He said: “I did not think he would get this far so when we found out it was unbelievable.

“I am so proud of Blake and it was amazing to see the smile on his face when he officially unveiled it.

“The whole day has been brilliant for the family.”

Peel Ports have already started to make plans to replace the 40-year-old pilot boat with another version of Horatio in the near future.

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