Pics: Medway Queen Preservation Society

The paddle steamer Medway Queen, once a familar sight on the Thames , has returned to Kent after a hull rebuild.

The tug Christine towed the Medway Queen from Bristol in a non-stop voyage. A flotilla of small boats joined in as she arrived back at Gillingham. Hundreds of people lined the pier and more crowded onto the nearby Strand to watch the return despite the cold weather.

Bob Stokes, Project Manager, said "The hull reconstruction phase is well and truly over and after a short time to celebrate and reflect on what is already a magnificent achievement, we have to very quickly turn our attention to the future, which in my opinion cannot happen without professional assistance and a major influx of funding."

The Medway Queen Preservation Society has to raise significant amounts of money to complete a restoration and will need the help of volunteers with practical ship fitting skills as well as administrators and people to help with the public.

Any offers of help should be made to the society at their Gillingham Pier base or on 01634 575717. The ship will not be accessible to the public immediately until safety arrangements and certification are complete.

The Medway Queen once sailed the river after which she is named and was known to generations for seaside excursions to resorts like Clacton, Southend and Ramsgate. Her wartime service included minesweeping and taking part in Operation Dynamo at Dunkirk. In later years she became a nightclub on the River Medina on the Isle of Wight.

More at the Medway Queen website HERE

Link to our earlier Medway Queen story HERE

Story dated Nov 22nd 2013