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Historic Norfolk fishing vessel set to sail again

PUBLISHED: 11:27 11 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:55 11 March 2020

The Baden Powell sails along the Great Ouse in King's Lynn, passing the Customs House. Picture: Ian Burt

The Baden Powell sails along the Great Ouse in King's Lynn, passing the Customs House. Picture: Ian Burt

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A historic fishing vessel rebuilt by volunteers will soon be setting sail again.

The Baden Powell and the Lynn Ferry share the water in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtThe Baden Powell and the Lynn Ferry share the water in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The King's Lynn Worfolk Boat Trust spent a decade restoring the Baden Powell, a unique double-ended fishing smack.

She was built in Lynn in 1900 by legendary boat builder Walter Worfolk.

During summer, the wooden vessel will be moored off Lynn's South Quay, from where she will carry passengers on tours of the tidal River Ouse and The Wash.

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Up to eight people at a time can travel on the 34ft vessel, sitting in her hold.

Volunteers expect the boat to sail up the river from Lynn docks, where she has spent the winter, at around 1.30pm on Wednesday, March 18.

Their website says: 'All winter Wednesday workdays have been held in the Travis Perkins yard at the docks, when our volunteers have been carrying out all those jobs which need doing to keep a wooden boat in good trim. Especially when the wooden boat concerned is the historic Baden Powell, that worked from King's Lynn for 80 years before a long programme of work under project leader Tim Clayton brought her back to life to play a major role on the town's waterfront.'

One of the first to see her this season will be Trevor Dodd, descendant of Baden Powell designer and builder Walter Worfolk.

The new sails of the Baden Powell have been hoisted for the first time. Picture: Ian BurtThe new sails of the Baden Powell have been hoisted for the first time. Picture: Ian Burt

'I never had the honour of meeting my great-grandfather Walter Worfolk or his wife Lily, but heard many stories of the strict upbringing of their two sons,' he remembers. 'Walter, of course, built the Baden Powell, now faithfully restored to her original condition by a dedicated team of local volunteers. Walter had his sons sign a contract at the age of 12 as apprentices, while they learned the family trade. I'm told the apprenticeships were arduous and lengthy, and they received little in terms of compensation. 'But they endured until they were 21 and then carried on the family tradition. As soon as I was able I started to visit their Bentinck Dock workshop. I walked there every Saturday morning while at school and watched progress on their various projects.

'I witnessed one of the boats built from beginning to end. She was the Agnes C, built for a local fisherman, Frank Castleton, and named after his wife.'

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