The SS Freshspring has received a £61k boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help restore the steamship into an attraction for Bideford.

A project to restore a steamship in Bideford has received a £61,000 funding boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The SS Freshspring Society was awarded the grant for its two-year programme to reopen the ship as a heritage attraction.

There will be a considerable emphasis on education from school age children to the general public, and the grant includes funding to employ an education and project officer.

John Puddy, trust chairman, said: “This is a huge step forward for the trust, The National Lottery grant was substantially matched in Devon by Torridge District Council, Bideford Bridge Trust and The Balsdon Trust, demonstrating very considerable local support.

“In addition match funds have been awarded by The Headley Trust along with individual Trust Membership support.

“I thank all those in our team who worked so hard to make this such a successful project with a very bright future.”

Work will be starting on the restoration of the ship’s bridge, boatdeck and access shortly to ensure the ship can fully open for April 2018.

For information see: www.ssfreshspring.co.uk.