Endeavour in Isolation as Virus Halts Work

Endeavour, Leigh's iconic Dunkirk Little Ship will not be back in town thanks to the corona-virus. The boat is currently in a shed at St Osyth where urgent repairs have been put on hold as the yard is in lock-down.

Until restrictions are lifted work cannot continue. There had been hopes that she would be ready for painting before the end of March but realistically the boat will not be back on her Old Town mooring before the end of April.

An end of season inspection last year revealed that the boat had serious rot sections of the deck and hull. The management committee of the Leigh-on-Sea Endeavour Trust called in Maldon based shipwright, Brian Kennell to make the repairs and the boat was taken to St Osyth last September for work to begin.

Brian and fellow boat-builder Sean White (pictured in the red checked shirt), blamed unseasoned wood for the trouble. When Endeavour was re-built in 2004 Southend Council donated timber which was stolen. The replacement, much of which came from Ireland, was still raw when installed and after almost 20 years rotted around the stern, the aft deck and in the cabin.

Brian explained: "Rot had got into the whole stem. Once you start on the rot it's very difficult to stop until it is all eradicated. The stern is like a huge three-dimensional jigsaw and if we don't get it all now it will come back and haunt us in a few years time. The secret to stopping it happening again is to keep the deck well painted."

The boat had to be stored in a boat shed to dry out before work began.

As committee chairman David Norman says: "Endeavour has covered some extraordinary distances crossing the Channel numerous times, even going to Antwerp last year. We had planned to have regular trips on the Thames this year as well as to Dunkirk. Covid-19 has caused everything to go on hold. These repairs are essential but they are also expensive but Endeavour is an important part of Leigh's history which must be preserved."

Endeavour has enjoyed support from many organisations over the years including East Anglia Pub Company, Anglia Batteries, Leigh Marina, Ford Motor Company, Co-op Community Fund, Adventure Island and also through the late Mike Guy and the Leigh Times and finally from the people of Leigh and Southend, and visitors to the Old Town.

Mr Norman added that Trust members and their donations keep the boat going.  

Endeavour's website is at endeavourtrust.blogspot.com carrying news of her adventures and future events. It is possible to donate to the Trust via the site (see yellow  'Donate' button in the panel on the left). The boat is also featured on Facebook.

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