Royal date for Kathleen and May

The ship that once graced Bideford’s waters will take her place opposite the Queen before heading to her new home.

HISTORIC schooner, the Kathleen and May, will take pride of place at a showcase event to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this summer.

But owner Steve Clarke has confirmed that the ship would not be returning to Bideford after her royal appearance at the ‘Parade of Sail’ in London on June 3.

The 112-year-old ship, Britain’s last remaining wooden three-masted topsail schooner, will be positioned opposite the Queen’s golden barge for the epic sail-past on the River Thames

Mr Clarke, of Bideford, said the vessel was currently being repainted to look her best for the big day.

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“There will be hundreds of ships going past; it is a fantastic opportunity, a real once-in-a-lifetime chance.”

The Kathleen and May left Bideford in May last year, after a 13-month struggle by Mr Clarke to keep her berthed in the town.

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He said the vessel would be sailing to France for the Brest Maritime Festival in July before returning to the Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool, where she has been offered a permanent place and is supported by the local university, council, museums and countless volunteers.

“Sadly there is no berth for her in Bideford any more,” said Mr Clarke.

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