Boat wreck saved at 11th hour

ONE of five boats due to be broken up and taken away during a clean-up of the foreshore at a well-known Suffolk riverside beauty spot has been saved.Now the 45ft picket boat, believed to be the admiral's launch from a 1950s naval destroyer HMS Vernon, will be restored to its former glory.

ONE of five boats due to be broken up and taken away during a clean-up of the foreshore at a well-known Suffolk riverside beauty spot has been saved.

Now the 45ft picket boat, believed to be the admiral's launch from a 1950s naval destroyer HMS Vernon, will be restored to its former glory.

Last week saw the start of the first phase of a clean-up of Pin Mill's foreshore and hard standing, organised by Babergh District Council's Pin Mill task group, with the breaking up of the rotting barge the Maid of Connaught.

The admiral's launch was one of three wrecks due to be cleared that week, but Ipswich man Andy France could not bear to see her go to her doom and stepped in at the last minute.

Mr France, 27, a mechanical design engineer, said he had gradually fallen in love with the launch over several months as a regular visitor to the Pin Mill pub the Butt and Oyster.

Mr France, of Westholme Road, said: "I took a shine to her eight months to a year ago and I finally decided to do something about her, so I contacted HM Recovery of Wrecks to make a claim for her salvage."

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Made mostly of mahogany, she had survived relatively well, with only one hole in the hull and this week she was brought into Webb's boatyard on the foreshore.

This is where the real work will begin.

Every inch of the woodwork will have to be stripped and properly treated, some of the decking will have to be replaced and it is not yet clear whether the engine and gears can be repaired or will have to be scrapped altogether.

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