How It All Started - Part 2 by Mike King

So - in July 2001 the Endeavour Trust was formed, and our boat was returned to its birthplace in Leigh Marina (formerly Johnson and Jago). The trip from Kent and subsequent moves were generously paid for by John Cross of the Boatyard restaurant.
Cleaning up the boat was started, with necessary gardening to remove grass and weeds from the deck (yes - seriously) and also tins, bottles, bricks and other rubbish from the bilge. A not-very-pretty deck house was also removed and there she was, ready for restoration. Two difficulties stood in our way - who could do the specialised work and how were we going to pay for it? The one remaining boat builders in Leigh were Sea King who produced many clinker built sailing cruisers, and it was decided to move Endeavour onto Strand Wharf adjacent to their shed. Once again Endeavour was hoisted up and moved.

What about the money? A number of private individuals contributed to the fund but our advisors, John Milgate and Barry Thornton, indicated that probably £100,000 would be needed and that would be difficult to find from private sources.
We contacted three potential funders - Heritage Lottery Fund, Cory Environmental Trust in Southend and Essex Heritage Trust. Quite rightly all required a full business plan demonstrating that the restoration was viable and that the boat would be used to benefit the community. David Norman, Paul Gilson and I did the necessary paperwork and presented the scheme to the relevant bodies. We were helped considerably in demonstrating our financial stability by the donation from Jeanne Wilson mentioned in our April newsletter.

So - all was go! With Peter Wexham's help Southend Council agreed to supply oak from Belfairs woods and Endeavour was fenced off for security reasons. All we needed was a start date but during one night thieves removed the fence and all the oak! Southend Council were good enough to provide replacement oak, but we were furious!
Building from new is quite a different matter from restoration and it became clear that the excellent boat builders were very unsure how to go about it. So what to do? Once again John Milgate had the answer and Endeavour was lifted up, put on her usual lorry, and moved to Great Totham in North Essex.

There, a generous land owner and classic boat enthusiast, Rupert Marks provided space in a barn and all electrical power. Two vastly experienced boat restorers Brian Kennell and Shaun White undertook to do all the work, with valuable assistance from trust members and, under the watchful eye of John Milgate, the restoration was under way... To be continued.

St Katharine Docks Classic Boat Festival

We took part in this year's classic boat festival at St Katharine Docks, forming part of the Mayor's Thames Festival over the weekends 7th-8th & 14th-15th September.

Paul had moved Endeavour to Canvey Island from where there is 'easy boarding' for our passengers. Paul with crew members Chris and Finlay welcomed six members on board.

The forecast rain held off until reaching London and everyone enthused over the stunning views offered from Endeavour in mid river. We were joined on the river and in the lock by some of the other vessels taking part, including majestic Thames barges.
The second weekend was a special celebration of 'Dunkirk Little Ships' which was highlighted through one off tours of the 'little ships' led by Ian Gilbert, the Association's Commodore.

All the boats were dressed with nautical flags and each was presented with an event pennant flag. Rod Stewart visited the festival and had an impromptu jam session aboard 'Dunkirk Little Ship', New Britannic. New Britannic is an old pleasure boat, owned by Greg McLeish, and a recent addition to the ADLS. We could not hold it against him that he had come from down under as he was passionate about his boat. But what we were taken aback with was his comments about Endeavour, "Oh mate, she's a legend! Everybody tells me about her, can I come and see her?" Once again wherever we are the Endeavour effect is there. Very pleasing but why?

Skipper Paul commented that despite the poor weather visitor numbers were fair. Importantly though it was the quality of the visitors that made the event and our participation rewarding.

It is a shame that we can't get more members to man the boat for longer periods as, with this level of interest, it is a pleasure to meet everyone.

Belfairs Woodland Centre Opening

We were delighted to accept the invitation from Essex Wildlife Trust and Southend Council to participate in the recent opening celebrations of the new woodland centre in Belfairs woods. We took along our 'roadshow' - comprising display boards, photograph albums, newsletters and various items of memorabilia for sale. 

Although the weather was dry the strong wind meant that we had great difficulty keeping everything in place, including the gazebo! Visitors were interested with the story of Endeavour including the part that oak from Belfairs woods had played in the restoration project.
BBC Springwatch presenter Martin Hughes-Games who opened the centre took the time to visit all the participants' stands and was keen to hear the story of Endeavour's historical and enduring importance to the community.

Summer Reception

Our first summer reception proved an enjoyable evening with splendid weather helping everything to go to plan on board the Wilton, home of the Essex Yacht Club. Eighty-five members and guests exchanged stories and took the opportunity to talk to officers and committee members and as Paul had brought Endeavour alongside, many went aboard to see at first hand all the facilities on offer!
We welcomed Dave Allen who had contacted us a few weeks before. Dave will not mind us reporting that he is 83 years young and has fond memories crewing on Endeavour for Harry Robinson at the end of the war when she was fishing under sail for shrimp. 

He recalls Harry's nickname, 'Fatten', and brought along a photograph of Harry taken in Buntingford, Herts. in about 1942. Harry, of course, owned Endeavour in 1940.

The Force Is With Us

In August Paul Gilson was joined on board by members of the Metropolitan Police Force and others for an estuary cruise. Unfortunately one officer found life aboard somewhat 'difficult'. 

Insp. Mick Bates commented, "On a day when the Thames was as flat as a billiard table and in 23°, this from a rough tough police officer used to high speed car chases". 

We're advised that he is not going to request a transfer to the marine unit any time soon! Paul is seen here in deep conversation with Insp. Bates, whilst the ladies enjoy a light lunch. 

Mick enjoyed the trip so much he joined us again on the return trip from St Katherine docks.