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Restored lifeboat will be centrepiece of planned heritage centre at Winterton

PUBLISHED: 15:19 20 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:19 20 March 2018

Edward Birkbeck lifeboat on Winterton Dunes

Edward Birkbeck lifeboat on Winterton Dunes

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An appeal to help rescue a vintage lifeboat has been pushed out to the wider public as plans are submitted for its permanent new home.

Fundraising day at Winterton Beach for the Edward Birkbeck lifeboat restoration and building of the new heritage centre in the dunes.
Bev Kay, chairman of restoration group.

Picture: James BassFundraising day at Winterton Beach for the Edward Birkbeck lifeboat restoration and building of the new heritage centre in the dunes. Bev Kay, chairman of restoration group. Picture: James Bass

A proposal for a boathouse and heritage base in Winterton, which will feature the Edward Birkbeck as a centrepiece, has been lodged at Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

For volunteers leading the project it is a huge step forward, and one that will trigger a new wave of fundraising when it is approved.

Restoration group chairman Bev Kay said there was plenty of local support but that the drive now was to reach out to the general public and tap into funding streams they may not know about.

She said the boat, bought back to Winterton six years ago, was the village lifeboat from 1896 to 1925.

The Winterton lifeboat shed houses two boats, including Edward BirkbeckThe Winterton lifeboat shed houses two boats, including Edward Birkbeck

It was found languishing in Conwy, Wales, where it had been taken over by squatters and then abandoned.

Since coming back to the village it had struggled to find a permanent home and was on the move again because the land it was taking up was needed.

Meanwhile, volunteers were working to return it to its original condition.

The centre, planned for a spot close to the fishermen’s huts, would be a celebration of the past as well as the present, Mrs Kay said, with displays about all aspects of Winterton including its wildlife, walks and waters.

There could also be a facility for people tracing their ancestry, or at least some archive displays to help them find out how their forbears lived.

The boat is a rare survival and in surprisingly good condition.

It is one of the few pulling and sailing lifeboats remaining and - like the Alfred Corry at Southwold - was built in Great Yarmouth.

Mrs Kay said more volunteers were always needed and that access to funding and grant providers would be key to the project, likely to cost between £60,000 and £100,000.

Volunteers will be raising money close to the Dunes cafe over Easter Sunday and Monday.

As part of their grand raffle artist Peter Chapman is offering one winner a pastel portrait of their pet.

To find out more or to buy a ticket contact Mrs Kay on 01493 394954 or email woslifeboat@gmail.com.

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