Hope thrown to save our Dunkirk Little Ship, the lifeboat Louise Stephens

BRAVE little lifeboat the Louise Stephens has been thrown a potential lifeline after two maritime enthusiasts stepped forward to try to prevent her from being sunk.

Entrepreneur Joe Larter, who founded Pleasurewood Hills in 1983, agreed to throw his weight behind an appeal to save the vessel after it was revealed she would be sunk if the current owner did not find a buyer.

And Richard Basey, commodore of the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships, said he would re-home the vessel in Lowestoft if the money could be found to bring her home.

The iconic vessel, which sailed to the aid of soldiers during the second world war evacuation of Dunkirk, is for sale for �4,000 and is moored in Port Ellen on the Isle of Islay off the west coast of Scotland.

As a lifeboat, the Louise Stephens launched 311 times and rescued 177 lives during a tenure in Yarmouth and Gorleston.

Mr Basey contacted the Mercury this week and said he would be happy to have her at Nelsons Boatyard in Lowestoft and has even toyed with the idea of using her on the River Yare.

If the Louise Stephens was taken to Lowestoft, it would see her stationed in the home of her brother lifeboat, the Michael Stephens: which now operates in the south west of England.

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“I am of the belief that things should be where they belong; and this boat should brought back to Gorleston. I will go out of my way to make sure it is saved, but I don’t have the resources to buy it. The way I see it; I am a Norfolk boy and this is a Norfolk boat, and I would like to see it back here.”

Meanwhile, Mr Larter said: “I am keen to see the Louise Stephens brought back to Norfolk because I believe the lifeboat will really capture the public imagination.”