Councillors help fund pleasure boat restoration

(L to R) Tim Covington (volunteer), Councillor Margaret Bannister, Lloyd Stebbings and Steve Collett (volunteer)

Eastbourne’s Devonshire ward councillors have agreed to a funding request from the team behind the Allchorn Pleasure Boats.

Mariners Lloyd Stebbings and Danny Goldsmith are committed to returning the two boats – The William Allchorn and The Southern Queen – to their glory days. They are the last two pleasure boats to have operated off Eastbourne seafront and have a rich history, going back around 200 years. The boat enthusiasts are also planning to restore the ex-Eastbourne Lifeboat, the Duke of Kent.

Lloyd and Danny approached Devonshire ward Councillors Margaret Bannister, Steve Wallis and Stephen Holt for £1,250 from the devolved budget to pay to insure the workshop which currently houses The Southern Queen, known as Net Shop 5, situated next to the Lifeboat Station at Fisherman’s Green.

The building also has a modest visitor centre with old photos and information about the boats’ history, as well as DVDs to purchase and an educational area for children, which Lloyd and Danny would like to grow in the future. There is also a public viewing gallery for people to see the boats as they are being restored.

Lloyd, who is a boat builder by trade, said: “We’re very grateful for the support of the councillors, especially Councillor Wallis who has been with us from the start, keeping in contact frequently. We’ve had a vision for a long time of the boats taking passengers for trips around the Eastbourne seashore but it’s not a quick or easy process to restore a boat, let alone three, especially as Danny and I both have full time jobs, but I’m confident we’ll get there in the end.”

Councillor Bannister said: “These boats are such important vessels for Eastbourne. Our grant has been spent on insurance cover for the building, its contents and £5 million public liability cover so that schools and the public can continue to access the viewing gallery and listen to talks on what Lloyd, Danny and their volunteers are doing, which will enable them to raise more money for the project.”

For further information on the restoration, visit www.allchornpleasureboattrust.org.uk

Other projects which have benefited from the councillors’ devolved budget funding recently include purchasing gazebos for the recent Friends of Princes Park Fun Day, and also for Community Stuff, which is running free outdoor holiday activities at Seaside Recreation Ground. 

Published on 16 July, 2019