December 2003 Newsletter

Now for the Engine, Mast and Sails

Yes, the time has come when we can start thinking of these things: exciting isn't it?
Our hopes of getting a low cost engine from Ford UK haven't happened but we have a number of alternatives. Our main concern is that it should be as much a British engine as it is possible to obtain. When we decide on an engine local engineer Stephen Cocks, whose grandfather owned Endeavour, will oversee it's installation and any alterations that may be required to make it suitable for marine use.

The mast and sails do however present a difficulty. When Endeavour was built no-one took drawings of the rig. So far we only have one photograph which clearly shows the sails, and even this doesn't show them side on, so that we can measure them.

Our restoration Consultant, John Millgate, is working with North Sea Sails to come up with dimensions, but if any of our members have photographs of Endeavour or a similar Leigh Cockle boat, showing the mast and sail plan, we would welcome sight of them. 

We have located some excellent rope, which looks just like the traditional hemp but is in fact made from modern no-rot materials. This will maintain the authenticity of the completed boat whilst giving us all the benefit that modern technology provides.

Endeavour 'on course for Dunkirk'

We are pleased to announce that extra funding has been obtained for the restoration of the Endeavour; Trustee David Norman says that we are near to achieving the total sum needed.
Our latest grant success is £6,000 from the Essex Heritage Trust. This is an organization dedicated to preserving the history of the county and the money will be used to purchase the mast, sails and rigging. As mentioned above, we have already been in contact with expert traditional sail makers over the exact specification for the sails and if you can help in this regard please get in touch with one of the officers or trustees.

Another notable contribution has come from Keymed who have given us £1,000 thanks to the efforts of Peter Wexham who brought Endeavour to their attention.

Altogether our fundraising is going very well but there is no room for complacency. We have a commitment that in June 2005 the Royal Navy will escort Endeavour and the other little ships to Dunkirk for the last time and that has been our first target from the start. There is, however, no small amount of irony in that, because this will be the first time Endeavour will have returned, because up until now she has always been a working boat with no time for foreign jaunts. Unfortunately it's not just the human veterans that are reducing in number but also the vessels and so the restoration of Endeavour has come just in time.

Can we take this opportunity to drum home the message that Endeavour is an ongoing project and we are just at the beginning. We are restoring her in such a way that, barring catastrophic accident, Endeavour will be around longer than most of us involved in the work. We estimate that it will be fifty years before any more work needs to be done and during that time she will be busy educating those who will listen about the lessons to be learnt from the past.

Educational Purposes

Those of you who have been reading this newsletter since issue one will know that on many occasions we have written that Endeavour will be used for educational purposes. Well, very soon we will have to get to grips with the reality of that statement. Many of the grants that we have received have come with a commitment to allow a specific amount of public access or educational use. So, as we reach the stage where we can see the completion of the restoration in sight, the question of exactly how we will fulfill those commitments looms ever nearer. As you will read elsewhere in this issue, Reta is already in a way partly fulfilling that commitment, but we can't leave all the work to one person, no matter how good she is. That is why we must redouble our efforts to not only maintain our membership, which currently stands at over 170, but to increase it. Endeavour will continue to require essential 'support' both financial and material: our support; yours and mine. It's no good restoring her and then leaving her! We have an obligation to make good use of her.

If you put your minds to it, I am sure, like me, you could produce a whole list of ways in which we could make good use of Endeavour, but each one would have the same thing in common; the need for resources. You the members provide that resource.

After June 2005, we will be able to use Endeavour to sail the inshore waters as she was built to do. But to take people out to experience what it's like and what it would have been like to cross the English Channel, we will need people with the right qualifications and certificates. Is that you?

Also, to allow people to board Endeavour to see inside, we will need people ready to give up some time to make sure it's done in safety. We will need people to offer their support, their time and money. Is there something you could do either in future or even now?

If you would like to offer your support but feel you do not have the skills, there is plenty of time to attain them, perhaps through a course at S.A.V.S. Please think about it and then volunteer. (See the contact page for the Secretary's email address)

Congratulations - 1

It is with the greatest of pleasure that I can convey the sincere thanks of the Trust to Nick James. As you probably remember, Nick has been working very hard in the background to secure for the Trust a large quantity of larch for use in the restoration of Endeavour. Nicks efforts have been very much appreciated by all concerned.

So much so in fact that the Trustees have decided to reward Nick with a life membership of the Trust. 

Things didn't always go smoothly to plan, but when do they? As with everything success comes with effort. 

Well done Nick - we just hope that all the problems haven't put you off helping in the future.
Congratulations - 2

When Endeavour was 'found' in Kent, one of the party which discovered her was the editor of the Leigh Times, Michael Guy. The Leigh Times has always been most generous with the coverage given to our activities, and we presented Michael with a certificate in recognition of all the help he has given us.

October 2003 Newsletter

Update from Reta Cox

Hello Folks

I have been asked to put pen to paper to let you know about this year's fund raising events. By invitation, I have given talks on Endeavour to numerous clubs and associations. Many thanks to the members of Cruse, Highlands Monday Club, Leigh Ladies Circle, Pall Mall, Circle 5-0 Group, Billericay, Ladies After Eight Club, Thundersley and Leigh Men’s Forum, for listening and making me so welcome.

In March, Southend Brass Band and the Trust held a combined concert at Clifftown Congregational Church which was a great success.

In May, at St.Clements Mayfair in Leigh Library Gardens, Norah, Sheila and Myself ran a successful Tombola Stall.

In June, the Trust was invited to hold a stall at the Pier Open Weekend. 'What great Fun!!' Saturday was very quiet and cold, Sunday, my friend Margaret and I nearly took off over the estuary, a gale of wind got up hitting the yachts in the Nore Race. Then turned its attention to the Pier and the marquee with us in it; what a frightful experience. I phoned my husband to tell him we were okay in case he was worried about us, all he said was, 'what wind?'

In July, we held a Poetry Evening, at the Book Inn, Broadway West. I have never arranged an event like this before, but it turned out to be a very enjoyable evening. Many thanks to the staff of the Book Inn and to everyone who gave us their support. We held a table sale at Manchester Drive Allotments Open Day. I only wish we had had a film camera to record us trying to put up a 'Gazebo', I’m thinking of selling tickets for next year.

In August, we had a New and Nearly New Sale at New Road Methodist Church. Thanks once again to Norah, Sheila, Margaret, Eve and Marilyn for all their help. Pity the newspaper that gave us such a good write up forgot to put the time it started in the article.

In September, Norah, Sheila and I again ran a Tombola Stall at the Fishing Festival.

Over the past year, I’ve had a mixed bag of events and I have met a lot of lovely people, had many laughs and a few tears.

Those who attended our AGM met six special gentlemen; 'Veterans of Dunkirk'. The seventh veteran couldn’t attend because at the age of 85 he was having a heart by-pass. They are the last members of the Southend Dunkirk Veterans Association and we wish them all well and a speedy recovery. I would also like to send our best wishes to another veteran who now lives in Chesterfield but used to live in Tudor Gardens, Leigh. He made a special journey to pay his respects to the young men who crewed the little ships, including Endeavour, who may have rescued him from the beaches. Pat, we do hope you will be feeling better soon. God bless you all.

I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.


November 29th

Leigh Town Council have invited the Trust to have a table at the Christmas Lights Evening. If you can, please come and give us your help and support. We hope to be in Elm Road near the Old Coliseum.

December 13th

St.Clements Christmas Fair - please put this date in your diary and come along to support our efforts at this event. It runs from 10 am till 3.30 pm, so there is plenty of time to get there, but most importantly, tell your relatives, friends and neighbours. Encourage them to come and support us at both events because that is how we will achieve our aim and restore Endeavour.

August 2003 Newsletter

Now for the really good news...

Now that phase one is complete with all the oak frames, new keel, stem post and transom done, we have turned our attentions to phase two which starts with the planking. We now have the timber we need in order to complete the planking, all we now require is our craftsmen to return from the work they have been doing whilst we were raising the money to pay for the work.

If things work out as we hope once restoration restarts we will have enough money for them to continue working until they have finished the planking, decking and fitting out the interior.

Dunkirk Veterans at Endeavour AGM

The highlight of our very well attended AGM was the contribution made by five Dunkirk veterans. Ron Willson, speaking on their behalf told how many of the soldiers would never have got away but for the small boats like Endeavour. He told how 3 ton lorries were driven into the water to form a sort of pier so the little boats could take on a full load of soldiers. "What you are doing now to preserve Endeavour is great work," he said, "She will provide a real link with those historic times."

He also told how in Belgium, his group were required to walk towards the sea at night, but then turn round and march towards the firing line in daylight. "The idea was to convince the enemy that reinforcements were coming up, but I’m not sure it worked," he said.

Reports from the Trust officers showed how much progress had been made in the last year.

One half of the expected cost has been raised, and applications for further grants have been made.

All work is being done to a standard that will not require any further restoration for at least 50 years.

The framework is now completely restored, and special timber for the planking is on its way from Southern Ireland, thanks to the sterling effort of Nick James, making good use of his contacts within the timber trade.

All officers were re-elected with a vote of thanks being given for their hard work in the year. Particular thanks were given to all members who delivered leaflets and helped at the various fundraising events.

We were on TV again

A very good news report on Endeavour was transmitted by the BBC last month - unfortunately on Look East which not too many people in Leigh get. But it all goes to show the interest there is in the boat.

Financial Report - the Tax Man helping with restoration!

Just a few days ago when the postman did his morning delivery I received an envelope from the Inland Revenue, not normally a good thing to receive. But on this occasion when I opened it I was very pleased to discover that it was to tell me that £415.18 had been deposited in the Trust bank account. So to all of you who have taken the time and trouble to fill in a Gift Aid form thank you and well done. If you have been meaning to fill one in and haven’t quite got round to doing so it’s not too late. If you pay tax it is well worth the effort. Very soon I will be filling in another claim form and asking the Tax Man for a further sum approaching £3,000, Which will pay for quite a bit of restoration work, so if you can please Gift Aid your giving.

For those who were unable to attend the AGM in July our finances at the moment look quite healthy but once work restarts possibly next month it will not take long to spend. The Trust financial year ends this month and so far this year we have managed to raise £2,000 in membership subscriptions £12,000 in donations, almost £2,000 selling Bric-a-brac and through events and £26,750 in grants. Making a total of £42,750.

We have spent almost £6,000 on materials, £21,500 on actual restoration work by the shipwrights and £600 on sundries making £28,100.

This means we now have enough money in the bank to restart restoration. Please give yourself a pat on the back.

But before you start thinking that we have made it and there is no need to bother any more, once our shipwrights start work again it will be costing us about £1,200 every week. This means we have enough money to pay them for about three months work, less whatever we have to spend on materials. The good thing is that they can do quite a lot of work in three months, but we need to continue all our fundraising activities.

Keith Threadgold