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Homecoming visit for Kathleen and May

PUBLISHED: 13:00 12 March 2014

The Kathleen and May will be setting sail for Bideford this summer.

The Kathleen and May will be setting sail for Bideford this summer.

Archant

Historic schooner will be visiting Bideford for the first time since she sailed away in 2011.

THE iconic schooner, the Kathleen and May, will be setting sail for Bideford this summer as it plans a homecoming trip to the town.

The sole surviving three-masted topsail schooner, valued at £2million, belonged to the late councillor and businessman Steve Clarke OBE who died in December.

She was bought by Cllr Clarke in 1985 and restored to full working order; moored at Brunswick Wharf until she sailed away in 2011 for good.

But the Clarke family is now planning for the Kathleen and May to visit the town this summer as well as touring several shipping festivals.

Phil Clarke, Cllr Clarke’s son, confirmed he was hoping the schooner would moor up in August for a fleeting visit from her home in Liverpool.

Last year the Gazette reported how an export bar had been put on the Kathleen and May by the secretary of state who called her a ‘national treasure’.

Since leaving Bideford she has been kept in Liverpool where Mr Clarke said she was being treated ‘exceptionally well’ and hoped to stay.

He said: “At the moment we are planning on keeping her in Liverpool; they’re building a trust for her and hoping to buy her.”

Details are still to be finalised but it is hoped the Kathleen and May will return to the town in August.

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