Harwich Harbour Ferry restored with £12k donations after storm damage
- Credit: Harwich Harbour Ferry
The historic Harwich Harbour Ferry which was damaged when gale force winds battered the coast last year will soon be back in action after more than £12,000 was raised to have it restored.
The foot ferry was wrenched from its mooring at Ha'Penny Pier in Harwich in September when an unpredicted storm pounded the 40-foot vessel against a pontoon, damaging its hull.
The 10-ton ferry was filled with water and badly damaged in the storm, with a GoFundMe appeal set up by one of its users to help get her back in service.
The popular ferry which provides a vital service for the communities of Harwich, Shotley and Felixstowe, will be back in action from Monday following a huge restoration.
Owners Chris and Lucy Zemann, who took the business over in 2015 when it was on the brink of closure, have been working tirelessly to repair the vessel.
"We are absolutely delighted to be back on the water and we can’t wait to welcome local residents and tourists back aboard," said Mrs Zemann.
"It has been a long, labour-intensive mission, but now the ferry is better than ever and looking very smart."
Large sections of the port side of the boat were damaged in the storm and all the electronics were lost, including the booking, card payment and ticketing systems.
The engine was flooded so it was taken apart, serviced and put back together with new gaskets and cylinders.
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Work has also included the installation of new safety systems, alarms, dashboard, propeller, stern gland, heating system and 300m of cables.
Donations of £12,200 and the insurance pay out were topped up by the owners, who said they have been inundated with messages of support.
"It really means so much to know how loved and needed the ferry is," said Mrs Zemann.
"We send our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has sent words of encouragement and to every single person who donated.
"We also want to thank the incredible craftsmen, experts and volunteers, including the brilliant team at Suffolk Yacht Harbour, who worked tirelessly with us to bring the ferry back to life.”
The ferry - which has served the communities for more than 100 years - was previously a lifeboat on the SS Canberra so, despite sustaining extensive damage, she did not sink.
Every year it takes 30,000 people between Harwich, Shotley and Felixstowe, supporting many other local businesses and bringing communities together.
The ferry will return to action on Monday, with bookings available via the Harwich Harbour Ferry website.