Donaghadee Heritage Preservation Company is pleased to announce that it has received planning permission to erect a temporary shelter over the lifeboat Sir Samuel Kelly.
The shelter will be built where the historic lifeboat currently lies in the Copelands Marina car park, Donaghadee. The boat urgently needs to be sheltered from the wind and weather so that it can dry out and work can begin on restoring and conserving it. The aim is that eventually it will take its place as the focal point of a new Heritage and Visitor Centre for Donaghadee which will be a source of local pride, a resource for the education of young people and a boost to tourism and the local economy.
Chair of Donaghadee Heritage, Kenneth Walsh, said: “This is a crucial milestone for the Company in carrying forward its plans to restore the Sir Samuel Kelly and preserve it as a vital part of the heritage of Donaghadee.” Continuing, he reflected on the high level of public support for the project: “In the space of just under three years the general public has contributed over £20,000 in support of this project. Many local organisations and individuals have made donations or organised a fund raising event. These events have included coffee mornings, craft fairs, publications, historical walks and talks, concerts, a 5k run and motorbike runs. The way the community and general public has responded has been a source of real encouragement to the Directors of the Company.”
The shelter will cover the boat and will provide good working space to enable the restoration work to be carried out. It will be well ventilated to allow the boat to dry out. Work on erecting the shelter is expected to start in the next few weeks so that the boat is protected before the onset of winter.
Explaining the next phase of the project, Ken Walsh said: “Once the boat has dried out we will be able to assess the extent of repairs which will be necessary so that the boat is in a condition fit for public display. Further funding will be required for this phase and aside from continuing with community-based fund raising we shall also be looking at the possibility of a grant. Our working assumption is that the work on restoring the boat will take two to three years, by which time it is expected a decision will have been taken about a permanent home for the lifeboat.”