Norwich’s ‘big grey boat’ saved from the scrap yard

The TS Lord Nelson on the Wensum in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

The TS Lord Nelson on the Wensum in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

A popular Norwich landmark has been saved from the scrap yard after a buyer has been found.

The Norwich Sea Cadets naval base TS Lord Nelson, or 'big grey boat' was set to be scrapped but will now be turned into a community cafe on the River Deben in Woodbridge, Suffolk.

Derek Grieve, 69, chairman of the Norwich Sea Cadets, said: 'We've been on the Norwich scene for 106 years. We have had several different ships but we've been in Norwich since 1912 and in the TS Lord Nelson for 17 years.

'There are several outside influences that have forced us to make the decision to leave. But when someone offered to buy it we had to take the opportunity and go for it.

'We put it up for about a year ago and didn't think anybody would come so fast but they did.'

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The plan is for the ship to be towed from its dock on the River Wensum to Martham Ferry Boat Yard in Great Yarmouth.

Once there it will be stripped and have the hull cleaned before making its way to the banks of the River Deben.

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It is planned to be moved on June 16 at midnight but a recent test of Carrow Bridge was postponed due to checks for nesting birds.

Mr Grieve has been with the cadets since he left Royal Navy in 1975. He added: 'There is a fall back plan the following week just in case we have any problems with the bridges.

'But the high water needed to move it on will be at around midnight.

'There is a lot of history here, so there will be a small marching off ceremony on June 10 where we will do the last evening colours and each cadet and member of staff will march off the ship for the last time.

'We'd like to see as many ex-cadets or staff attend as possible. But anyone who has a link with the ship is more than welcome to come down.'

The cadets will be moving to the Territorial Army and Army Reserve Centre in Aylsham Road.

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