SS Freshspring Society must raise funds to move steamship to Bideford by July 1 to create tourist and education attraction.

Time is running out to bring a unique steamship to Bideford this summer.

In May last year the Gazette revealed plans to bring the SS Freshspring to Bank End on Bideford Quay.

The 120ft ex-Royal Navy Auxiliary water tanker would be restored and used to offer cruise holidays for up to 12 passengers.

But the Steamship Freshspring Society have now been given notice to vacate the ship’s current berthing in Newnham by July 1.

They must now urgently raise funds to move the vessel to Bideford where Torridge District Council has pledged a long-term berth for the ship.

Society chairman John Puddy said: “The aims of the trust are to support education, inspiring young people to engage in careers in engineering and within the maritime sector.

“This commitment from Torridge means that the trust is able to approach the Heritage Lottery Fund for major funding both to restore the ship and to fulfil the trust’s objectives.”

Society spokesman Raymond Goldsmith added: “The ship will be a major heritage attraction as a floating maritime museum with magnificent 19th century steam machinery. She will also be a valuable, educational resource with a focus on engineering.”

“One of the first events we’ll be hosting is a Gala Dinner on April 23 at the Royal Hotel, Bideford to complement fundraising efforts already in full swing.”

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