Exhibition to help us be prepared for the return of Baden Powell

The Baden Powell is still ungergoing restoration work - From left, Tim Clayton and David Hart, with

The Baden Powell is still ungergoing restoration work - From left, Tim Clayton and David Hart, with the fishing boat. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

An exhibition outlining the 116-year history of the King's Lynn boat Baden Powell will be held ahead of its return after restoration work.

The boat is being made seaworthy at Brian Kennell's St Osyth boatyard near Colchester, thanks to a £76,300 grant to the King's Lynn Worfolk Boat Trust from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The exhibition, Baden Powell is Coming will open for two weeks upstairs in the Long Room of the Custom House in Lynn on Thursday, March 24. In August, the boat, which is the only double-ended vessel of her type in existence, will be lowered into the Lower Purfleet to allow the public to watch the final work.

Visitors and people in west Norfolk will then be able to experience the thrill of sailing in the town's own boat on the river Great Ouse and the Wash.

The Baden Powell was rescued from gradual deterioration by the trust, and was berthed for about 10 years in Terrington St John, near Lynn. The boat was lifted on to a trailer and driven to the Essex boatyard last year.

Trust secretary Ken Hill said the original plan was to carry out all the work in Terrington, but he added: 'When we began to fix the planks to the renovated frame we realised our resources weren't equal to our aspirations. The first plank took us two days, and there are 40 planks.'

The cost of restoration work in Essex has also skyrocketed.

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Mr Hill said: 'Each month around £5,000 goes to St Osyth to buy the skills necessary to achieve our aims and the extra timber that has been required – iroko for cladding and oak for framing. But when people see the results in August, they'll know it has all been worthwhile.'

Meanwhile, the renovated engine that will power the boat, which is still in Lynn, started first time on a trial run. The restoration project is being supported by the west Norfolk Flux family, who made 'a substantial recent gift', and supporters also include a growing list of £1,000 donors.

Volunteer stewards are needed at the exhibition. If you can help, call Mr Hill on 01553 763675.

Are you restoring part of Norfolk's heritage? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk