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Fund-raising battle to save wherries

PUBLISHED: 07:02 11 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:41 13 July 2010

One of the Broads' most striking sailing boats is on a “farewell tour” before she disappears from the waterways for a major refit.

But the race is also on this summer to raise an urgent £100,000 to help repair her Wroxham base and sister boats.

One of the Broads' most striking sailing boats is on a “farewell tour” before she disappears from the waterways for a major refit.

But the race is also on this summer to raise an urgent £100,000 to help repair her Wroxham base and sister boats.

The pleasure wherry Hathor - pronounced Heart-or - dates back to 1905 and is the flagship of a fleet of boats preserved by a charity trust which bought them seven years ago.

She combines the traditional influences of her forerunner trading wherries with the elegance of a wooden interior adorned with inlaid animals and Egyptian hieroglyphics.

But after sailing more than 2,200 miles and carrying 20,000 people over the past five years, Hathor needs restoration work and will be laid up later this year - ready to sail again in 2013, if a fund-raising target can be reached.

The Wherry Yacht Charter charitable trust which owns Hathor, and her sister boats Olive and Norada, needs £100,000 by October to rebuild its base and work on the vessels.

And the tour, featuring sailing sessions and chances to tour her at moorings all over the Broads, is a key part of that money-spinning drive.

Trustee Jane Bryant said the charity has won a £492,000 Heritage Lottery grant, but it was just a third of the £1.5m total project costs, the rest of which have to come from match funding - helped by sponsorship, and public donations.

An immediate shortfall of £100,000 was needed to start the slipway and shed work. The Hathor tour was important to raise money and awareness. But the trust also needed sponsorship and people to join its friends organisation.

Norada is set to return to the water next month after three years of extensive hull repairs, but further internal work is needed before she can take passengers again.

Olive is also in line for work in her centenary year, having sunk at her moorings in 2005, followed by Hathor, built by the daughters of Jeremiah J Colman of the well-known mustard family, and being taken out of service in October when her insurance runs out.

In the meantime people can enjoy sailings for up to 12 people, ranging between an hour and a day, and which can involve return trips by bus or train or include lunch, garden tours or guided walks of Broads beauty spots.

Details of the sailings, which must be booked in advance, and viewings are available on the charity's website www.wherryyachtcharter.org. Telephone bookings can be made via the Broads Authority 01603 610734. Anyone able to help with sponsorship, fund-raising events, or wanting to join the friends should contact Jane Bryant on 01493

751773.


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