How It All Started - Back to Dunkirk 2005 - Mike King

Approaching Strand Wharf  
After returning to Leigh fully restored, but needing electrics fitted, a full paint, and sails and rigging being installed, our beauty seemed ready for anything!

But all the work was very time (and money) consuming, and the return to Dunkirk at the end of May presented a major challenge. We also wanted to have some public celebration of her return to Leigh and seaworthiness, so many volunteers pitched in, and a date was set for her re-launch on Saturday 23rd April at Strand Wharf. Very suitable as it was St. George’s Day.

Crowds collected, bunting was flown and then she came into view, and moored up in full glory, except that she was still painted grey – one of the few jobs still to be done.

Rev Margaret Miller blesses Endeavour,
champagne bottle in hand in readiness
Many celebrities were present including five Dunkirk veterans, two MP’s (President David Amess and long term supporter David Atkinson) and the band of the Salvation Army.

Prayers were said, and a bottle of bubbly was broken on her bows – lots of cheering.

Margaret Miller minister at Wesley Methodist Church was welcomed on the RNLI fast rescue boat and was last seen roaring towards Southend in her full regalia!!

Thanks to the generosity of John Cross the workers and Trust members were invited to lunch at the Boatyard Restaurant, when a few more speeches were made.

Wreaths on board to be placed
in the water in Dunkirk

Endeavour finally set off, leaving from Bell Wharf. Here Trevor Osborne handed Paul a wreath of flowers in honoured memory of Frank and Leslie Osborne, Harry Noakes and Harold Porter who lost their lives on ‘Renown’, destroyed on the return from Dunkirk in 1940. This was placed in the hold alongside another from the Trust.

Then she was off, skippered by Paul Gilson, with Peter Dolby, Finlay Marshall and Steve Cocks as crew.

A large party went by coach and linked up with Endeavour for the anniversary celebrations in Dunkirk, and we all sighed with relief and pleasure that the restoration was complete.

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