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Homecoming for Lydia Eva

PUBLISHED: 10:08 15 May 2009 | UPDATED: 13:55 03 July 2010

The Lydia Eva

The Lydia Eva

Wherever it has ventured it has attracted crowds of enthusiasts who have not got over their love affair with steam.

And next week the guardians of the worlds last remaining steam drifter will have everything crossed that she can finally make a welcome return home to Great Yarmouth where her fans have not forgotten her.

Wherever it has ventured it has attracted crowds of enthusiasts who have not got over their love affair with steam.

And next week the guardians of the worlds last remaining steam drifter will have everything crossed that she can finally make a welcome return home to Great Yarmouth where her fans have not forgotten her.

First though she will bid farewell to the Lowestoft-based workforce whose expertise has brought her from the brink of ruin at a celebration party on Monday.

Organised as a thank you to the loyal employees at Small and Co and the many other firms who have helped her, the low-key event marks a milestone in her long restoration paid for mainly by the Heritage Lottery Fund and well-wishers.

And the following day - if all the preparations go to plan - she will be towed to Yarmouth harbour for the final phase of a refit to turn her into a floating museum.

Trustee of the Lydia Eva and Mincarlo Trust that cares for both boats Dona Watson said there was plenty of scope for a few hiccups yet in a saga that had stretched back decades. The main sticking points at the moment centred on the availability of a tug boat, the tides and the weather.

Although it had been hoped she would steam back into Yarmouth that was now not possible because they were waiting for an engine part that was being custom made at Chatham.

And even if she arrives safely on Tuesday it will be a while before visitors can get on because the boat needs a thorough clean and a new gangway.

The timetable has already gone adrift with an Easter deadline long gone, but at over 80 years old the Lydia Eva is not about to be rushed.

Treasurer and lottery co-ordinator Christine Monkhouse said details about opening times were still being finalised and that it would depend on how many volunteers came forward. She estimated that everything would be completed by the end of June.

The museum will be free to visit although donations are encouraged to help maintain the craft which is run entirely by volunteers.

Previous Mercury appeals for volunteers have gone well attracting an enthusiastic band among them Gerry Jarvis and Pam Boon.


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