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Hands-on history on board Lydia Eva

PUBLISHED: 16:47 04 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:13 03 July 2010

The Lydia Eva

The Lydia Eva

The Lydia Eva is stepping up her marketing campaign to encourage schools to bring their pupils aboard for a hands-on history lesson.

The world's last remaining steam drifter already attracts hordes of enthusiasts to its South Quay berth in Great Yarmouth, hosting a “phenomenal” 3500 visitors during last month's Maritime Festival.

The Lydia Eva is stepping up her marketing campaign to encourage schools to bring their pupils aboard for a hands-on history lesson.

The world's last remaining steam drifter already attracts hordes of enthusiasts to its South Quay berth in Great Yarmouth, hosting a “phenomenal” 3500 visitors during last month's Maritime Festival.

But as she prepares to over-winter at Lowestoft at the end of the month her guardians are looking to swell those numbers further to satisfy themselves that enough people are hearing about her heritage, and lottery funders who gave the best part of £1m towards her restoration.

Pupils from Greenacre school are set to be the next to visit on Tuesday and after that at 4pm school trip leaders are invited to see for themselves the benefits of introducing children to the historic vessel, a living link to a once-proud fishing tradition.

Dona Watson, trustee of the charitable trust that cares for the Lydia Eva and Lowestoft's Mincarlo said school timetables had to be worked out well in advance and that she was keen to get the visits pencilled in for next season, adding: “It is notoriously difficult for people like us to get in touch with school teachers. We are part of a partnership with the Time and Tide Museum and we would just like to get them on board to show them what we can do for the children.”

Although the museum is open to all the trust is mainly targeting primary age youngsters who are shown round the ship by a character called the Hawesman, visiting the ship's hold, living accommodation and the steam engine - firing their imaginations.

For many, Ms Watson said, it was the first time they had been on a ship, an experience which helped to bring history alive.

“We are very keen for children to come aboard because that is what we are all about - educating for the future,” she said.

School trips cost £1.50 per child and last around an hour and a half.

The Lydia Eva is now closed on Mondays and Fridays but open all other days from 10am to 4pm. At the end of the month she will be towed back to Lowestoft and Smalls yard where the steam engine will be commissioned enabling her - after a series of setbacks and disappointments - to steam back to Yarmouth in May where she will stay all summer. In future years she may alternate with the Mincarlo.

Schools wanting to find out more about educational visits should call Bernadette Bidmead on 07838 487925.


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