Bid to save floating piece of North East history

The Royal Northumberland Yacht Club are bidding for £736,000 from the Heritage lottery Fund to preserve, what is thought to be, the oldest floating light vessel in the country

Mike Wade of the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club with the The HY Tyne III
Mike Wade of the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club with the The HY Tyne III

The fight is on to save a piece of North East history.

The Royal Northumberland Yacht Club are bidding for £736,000 from the Heritage lottery Fund to preserve, what is thought to be, the oldest floating light vessel in the country.

Built in 1879 for Trinity House and originally named LV 50, the RNYC’s house yacht in Blyth was originally stationed off the Isles of Scilly in Seven Stones, considered the most dangerous reef in Britain.

She was never fitted with an engine and towed to station as required to navigate ships passing the hazardous waters.

The club rescued the yacht from a breakers yard in Ipswich in 1952 and renamed her HY Tyne III.

 

She is now on the National Register of Historic Vessels and considered to be of national importance.

At 134-years-old there was an issue with the maintenance of the vessel and it needed constant attention.

Commodore of RNYC, Paul Common said: “About two years ago we had a real good look at what we’d do with her. We thought if it’s survived 134 years so far what would it take to keep her going for another 134?”

At a development meeting, club members voted to go ashore or to apply for the funding to preserve her.

The vote swayed in favour of applying to the HLF but not by much.

Paul, 53, from St Peter’s Basin, said: “We want to preserve the vessel as she is. We aren’t looking at a reconstruction or restoration, so that she’s available for people to see and appreciate.”

As part of the funding the ship will be made available to the public on certain days.

Paul said: “We had 80 visitors in two days when we did have open days during Heritage Week.”

He hopes that more of the ship’s history and the club’s archives will be focused on if they receive the funding.

“Part of the process will be to map out the vessel because we don’t have any actual plans of her”, Paul said. “This is a document of importance.”

The RNYC also holds many charity and social events throughout the year aboard the HY TYNE III.

“We’ve just had a coffee morning for Macmillan and raised over £650”, Paul said. “In the same evening we had a pie and pea supper and a raffle which raised £430 for RNLI. We invited Blyth and Tynemouth lifeboat crews along because the event is more a thank you to them.”

The club has gone through the preliminary stage and can now make a stage one application to the HLF. The application will go through in December and the outcome will be known in March.

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