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Lifeboat restoration project inline for heritage award

The return of the George Elmy lifeboat to Seaham escorted by present day lifeboats from Sunderland, Tynemouth and Hartlepool.

The return of the George Elmy lifeboat to Seaham escorted by present day lifeboats from Sunderland, Tynemouth and Hartlepool.

A LIFEBOAT restored by history enthusiasts could be on course for a national award.

East Durham Heritage Group’s work to return the George Elmy to its original glory has been short-listed for The Museums and Heritage Awards for Excellence in the Restoration and Conservation category.

The boat, involved in a disaster in November 1962, leading to the loss of nine lives, was brought back to Seaham in 2009 after it was spotted on eBay.

The group, with the help of donations from supporters and organisations, including Durham County Council and the Limestone Landscapes Programme, set about restoring it to a Liverpool Class lifeboat.

It had been used as a fishing vessel after it was taken out of RNLI service in 1972.

It made its voyage back to Seaham Harbour in June, when the group sailed it from a the South Shields yard. The boat, now housed in a heritage centre in the marina, is up against The Royal Palace Kitchens at Kew, The Mary Rose Museum and Oxford University Museum in the awards.

George Maitland, group member, said: “We’re thrilled to be nominated for this award. Anything which helps draw attention to this lifeboat and its story is fantastic.

“We’re all very proud to be involved with its restoration, and I hope the people of Seaham, who so generously supported us, feel proud too. The crew of the George Elmy were very brave men and the people of Durham have never forgotten that.”

Durham Heritage Coast officer, Niall Benson, added: “The dedication and resolve of this group to bring the George Elmy back to Seaham was tremendous and fully deserving of this national recognition.”

 

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