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Lowestoft and E Suffolk Maritime Society

PUBLISHED: 14:32 02 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:24 06 July 2010

Thirty members and two guests attended the September meeting at the Trinity Methodist Church Hall. The meeting was opened by the vice-chairman, J I H Aguss, who gave an update on the work being carried out to the interior of the new extension to the Lowestoft Maritime Museum.

Thirty members and two guests attended the September meeting at the Trinity Methodist Church Hall. The meeting was opened by the vice-chairman, J I H Aguss, who gave an update on the work being carried out to the interior of the new extension to the Lowestoft Maritime Museum.

Billy Hansford presented a showing of a DVD entitled Excelsior This is Your Life - a copy of the evening at the Assembly house, Norwich, before a large invited audience in 2006. Stewart White from BBC Look East narrated the history of the fishing smack which was built by Chambers in Lowestoft in 1921 and registered as LT 472, and was one of the last smacks to be built during the 1920s.

After many years spent fishing out of Lowestoft, it was sold to Norway and converted to a motor coaster. However, many years later it was found in a sorry state of repair and after several efforts, it was brought back to Lowestoft with the idea of returning it to the original state of a sailing smack.

The story told how the Excelsior Trust was formed to enable work to be carried out, and after much hard work, the ship was able to sail again. In July 1989 the ceremony of re-commissioning was conducted, with HRH Princess Anne in attendance.

Stewart White introduced people who had been associated with the restoration work and the Excelsior Trust. John Wilson brought her back to Lowestoft and was involved with the restoration work. Lord Somerleyton became the president of the trust, with Geoffrey Copeman as chairman. Many other local people have been involved through the years.

The ship has taken part in the international Tall Ships Race and in 2005 won a trophy. It is only one of 50 National Historic Ships in existence.

The two guests for the evening were Geoffrey Copeman and John Wilson, both of whom answered members' questions at the end of the story. A vote of thanks was given to Billy for showing a very interesting story. He has been a friend and helper to the trust and was presented with the DVD after he helped provide historical material. Thanks also went to Colin Dixon for operating the equipment.

The next meeting is on Thursday, October 29 at 7.15pm, when David Collins will give a presentation entitled Waveney Sailability.

New members are welcome. Meetings are on the last Thursday of each month, except December, and annual membership is £5.

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