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.

Southend Barge Match - Peter Dolby

On Sunday 23rd August Paul, Jeremy and Peter were joined on board by members, Helen Maddock, Anne Hinton van’t Hof, Anne’s son Theo and Michael Howard. Theo is in the Endeavour College at Belfairs Academy. The weather was perfect to view the magnificent barges even though they were struggling in the gentle breeze.

This was Michael and Helen’s first experience on board. Helen, our newsletter printer, joined the Trust last year and was pleased that the sea was so benign.

Anne (pictured right), has become our resident photographer and has provided many quality photographs over the past year, many of which are featured in this newsletter.

After an hour or so Dave Spurgeon and family came alongside on his launch and the opportunity was taken for Anne to switch boats so she could take some shots of Endeavour under full sail.

The photograph, pictured below, graces the front of the 2015 Endeavour Trust calendar! In order to create the best photograph everyone, except Paul, hid from view in either the cabin or hold.

A lovely time was experienced enjoying just the sounds of the sails in the wind and hearing the shouts of the skippers.  All perfectly rounded off with Paul sculling us ashore in the skiff, followed with a pint at the Billet.

Classic Boat Rally - Anne Hinton van’t Hof

Finlay, Rob Everitt, Brum, Paul and Jeremy with the
new Container Port’s gigantic cranes in the background
Friday 12th September was another beautiful day to motor up the Thames from Canvey to join the other historic ships in St. Katharine docks in the centre of London.  A really unique opportunity to view the estuary coastline from the water, point out landmarks, learn about the history along the river and take endless photographs as we sailed up river.

The swell from some of the larger vessels created a few hairy moments where we had to cling onto the deck, (not try and sit on a stool as I found out to my cost!).

Coming alongside at St Katherine docks
It was noticeable how the wildlife changed depending on the levels of industry.  Absolutely fascinating morning and afternoon and we were treated to a raising of Tower Bridge as we sat outside St. Katharine’s dock.  Once inside the dock we moored alongside some of the other Dunkirk Little Ships and were invited on board to have a look inside the boats. This was another bonus to the trip and I enjoyed hearing about the history and the stories.

Another thoroughly enjoyable day and many thanks to Paul and his first mate ‘Brum’ who gave us another great trip out on the Endeavour.

Artists on Board

Endeavour is fast approaching Mary Amelia’s port side
Thursday 31st July saw Endeavour leave Leigh with artists Susan Willis, Barry Andrews and Alan Hockitt aboard in tandem with Osborne’s Mary Amelia with David Hurrell on board. David’s mission was to take some photographs of Endeavour under full sail and then to capture her in a murky, wintery sea, with a Hallelujah shining a puddle of light upon her sails for a watercolour painting. The Trust could have full use of the painting by way of prints including for the 2014 Christmas card.

We are grateful to Osborne Bros. for facilitating the trip and, in particular, Mary Amelia’s skipper, Andrew Lawrence.

Alan took some great photographs of Mary Amelia and many close ups on board Endeavour and is happy that these can be used by the Trust and Osborne Bros.

Susan, Barry and Alan so enjoyed their time aboard that they all signed up for membership!

Calendars and Christmas Cards

Watercolour, frame size 16” x 20”
Christmas Card prints also available from Peter Dolby
At the time of going to print there are just thirteen calendars in stock from 200 printed. We’d love to arrange a reprint so please keep your orders coming in.

The Lynn Tait cards have been sold out but we have David Hurrell Christmas cards, with envelope, available at 60p each. These are A5 cards, with double sided inserts.

We trust that members who have bought cards and calendars are pleased with their quality and we take this opportunity to thank Anne Hinton van’t Hof, David Hurrell and Lynn Tait for all their help.

David’s painting has pride of place in his living room but he has advised that it is available for purchase. Please contact David if you are interested on 07906 252 617 or 01702 552668.

Finally, we have a good stock of Endeavour sweatshirts and T shirts in all sizes including some T shirts for children. Check the Shop page for details.

If you want to add these to your Christmas presents please contact Peter Dolby.

Leigh Maritime Event

Brian and Andrea on board
Peter Monk with Squeezebox
The Leigh Maritime event, organised by Leigh Town Council, lived up to its name in the Old Town on Sunday 27th July. Endeavour took pride of place alongside Bell Wharf and together with our stand, adjacent to the boat, proved a popular attraction.

Visitors were interested in the Endeavour story and some new members were recruited and merchandise sold.

Many people came on board and we even had a group of traditional shanty men who helped to swell the crowds during their performances. Trust members Andrea Cunningham and Brian Denny fresh from their marriage the previous day also found the time to pose for the camera.

Thameside shantymen find Endeavour’s deck
a good spot for a few shanties
We also participated at the Leigh regatta on Sunday 14th  September where we also enjoyed a refreshing number of visitors to our stand and again new members were recruited and further funds were raised.

A Nice Guesture

More and more of us opt for cremation when we pass on, and we have been pleased to meet with the last wishes of some friends.

Five or six years ago Trevor Noakes and his wife had been treated to a trip on Endeavour by their daughter to celebrate their 80th birthdays. Recently, we were only too pleased to grant their wishes that their ashes were scattered in the Thames Estuary from the boat.

We were only too pleased to fulfil Trust member, Bill Clarkson’s, wish for his ashes to be scattered at sea when Bill’s wife Doreen approached us.

On each of these occasions relatives and friends were also on board as the ashes were passed over the side on the falling tide, with suitable expressions of fond memories expressed.

We are pleased that we are able to help families in this way and take this opportunity to thank them for their generous donations in support of the Trust’s work in the community.

The Late Ron Frasle

In July a crowded St. Clements church bid farewell to one of the characters of Leigh – Ron Frasle.

Ron was the owner of Leigh Marina, which was where Endeavour was built, and is still known to many of us as Johnson & Jago.

From the first time Endeavour returned to Leigh Ron was extremely generous in providing space ashore and afloat, lifting her from one to the other, and enabling her to stay in the Marina in the winter – all without charge to us.

On behalf of all of us Mike expressed our thoughts to his family, "Ron was a man who was very straightforward in his views, so we knew exactly how he felt on every issue – a talent that is all too rare these days". Mike last saw him in March when he attended a meeting to discuss possible improvements to the waterfront. He was obviously very ill but participated fully and made some forceful points appreciated by everyone present. R.I.P.

Commemorative Return to Dunkirk 2015

The purpose of the return is unashamedly that of a commemoration of those who took part in Operation Dynamo and other related operations in May and June 1940. As well as the many thousands of British, French and other Allied troops who fought and died on our behalf, the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships, who organise the return, would like our 2015 return to especially commemorate the many thousands of French civilians who suffered great depravations and loss of life as a result of the Nazi invasion. It is hoped the theme of commemoration will underlie all we will do during this event. As in 2010 the departure point for the return will be Ramsgate.

We anticipate a departure date from Leigh to Ramsgate of Tuesday 19th May with a departure date from Ramsgate to Dunkirk of Thursday 21st May. The trip back to Ramsgate is scheduled for Monday 25th.

We are planning to participate again next year in ‘Ostend at Anchor’, scheduled between 28th and 31st May.

There will be opportunities for members to take part in some or all of these voyages and more information will follow in subsequent newsletters.