‘Please help us to keep her sailing’: Excelsior launches crowdfunding campaign

The Excelsior at sea. Picture: Mike Page

The Excelsior at sea. Picture: Mike Page - Credit: Archant

The trust which oversees one of the nation’s most important historic ships has launched a major crowdfunding campaign.

The Excelsior. Picture: Bill Hancock

The Excelsior. Picture: Bill Hancock - Credit: Archant

Excelsior Trust, who look after the historic Lowestoft-based sailing smack Excelsior, is aiming to raise funds to keep the 99-year-old iconic smack sailing.

With the crew currently in lockdown on board the sailing smack, they have been using the time to put together a campaign that will hopefully ensure the future of this important part of our local heritage.

Lockdown has meant that Excelsior has not been able to head out to sea with the groups of young people that were due to sail on her and this means a significant loss of annual income.

The crowdfunding campaign has been unveiled to fill the financial hole left by coronavirus cancellations of its voyages.

The charity has had to find its own way to maintain its traditional skills and ensure that young people will still be able to experience life on board.

Excelsior has taken nearly 10,000 young people to sea over 30 years as a charitable trust and many of them return as adults bringing their own groups on board.

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At 77ft long, LT 472 Excelsior is the last working fishing smack to be sailing out of Lowestoft.

Excelsior was built in 1921 and launched in Lowestoft as a fishing trawler – part of the town’s 300-strong fishing fleet.

The smack was rescued from Norway in the early 1980s, where she’d been discovered working as a motor barge, and she was brought back to Oulton Broad to be fully and authentically restored as a working smack.

In 1988 Excelsior was re-commissioned as a sail-training vessel by HRH The Princess Royal.

The Excelsior Trust chairman, Jamie Campbell, said: “A trip on Excelsior is often a life-changing experience giving young people the opportunity to become part of the crew and learning new skills.

“Many East Anglians will be familiar with the distinctive sight of our lovely old lady off our coast and further afield.

“We are determined not to lose her as a result of Covid-19.

“Please help us to keep her sailing”.

For further details visit www.theexcelsiortrust.co.uk call 0845 308 2323 or to pledge support to the crowdfunding campaign visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/excelsior-trust

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