The SS Freshspring has been given a funding boost to ensure it can reopen in ship shape.

The steamship, which is moored along Bideford Quay, has been awarded a £17,200 National Lottery Heritage Fund emergency grant to help it plan for reopening to the public following the coronavirus pandemic.

The grant will help provide The Steamship Freshspring Trust with virtual reality equipment which will allow visitors to take on a virtual tour of the ship, offering access to spaces currently unavailable due to infection risk and providing greater access to those less able.

The grant will also help support essential ship maintenance and contribute to an overhauled website.

Trust chairman John Puddy said: “This charity has achieved a great deal since it started in 2013. Major progress has been made since the ship has been based in Bideford, gaining local funding and substantial support from The Lottery Heritage Fund.

“We are now hugely grateful for further support from the Lottery Heritage Emergency fund during these very difficult times.”

For more information about the SS Freshspring, visit www.ssfreshspring.co.uk.