Norfolk’s Dunkirk little ship Lucy Lavers returns home to Wells

Lucy Lavers arrives home at Wells. Picture: Chris Bishop

Lucy Lavers arrives home at Wells. Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

Three cheers for Lucy Lavers, rang out the cry tonight, as Norfolk's 'little ship' came home to Wells.

Hundreds lined the quay as the restored lifeboat returned from her voyage to France, as part of a flotilla commemorating the Dunkirk evacuation.

Wendy Pritchard, trustee of Stiffkey-based Rescue Wooden Boats, which rebuilt the historic vessel, said: 'She's had an amazing journey, 385 miles. It's all gone really well, she's obviously thrilled to be back afloat.

'She goes through the sea quite easily and happily. She's done her bit. This is Wells's lifeboat, she's coming home to stay.'

Danny Harvey, one of 60 volunteers who crewed different legs of the voyage, was on board Lucy Lavers as she sailed into Dunkirk.

'It was fantastic, the crossing was great, the weather was absolutely superb. The sea was very kind to us.'

Lucy Lavers will now be moored permanently at Wells, where she will run heritage trips.

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Work on the former Wells lifeboat was completed just weeks before German troops surrounded retreating British forces on the beaches at Dunkirk, in May 1940.

She answered the call, along with hundreds of so-called 'little ships' to sail across to France to help carry them across the Channel to safety.

After a career as a lifeboat at various locations, including Cromer and Lowestoft, Lucy Lavers became a pilot boat in the Channel islands, in 1968.

In 1997 she was retired and largely stripped for the restoration of another lifeboat, but her hull was saved. In 2010, it was given to Rescue Wooden Boats, who set about restoring her to her former glory.