On Friday 18 September Helen Whately MP brought together representatives from Kent County Council, Faversham Town Council, the Faversham Society and the Faversham Creek Trust to discuss progress restoring the swing bridge. Kent County Council reported that they are making progress towards the restoration of the bridge, including detailed design work on a potential replacement. KCC is also meeting Peel Ports shortly and is hoping that Peel will engage and support the project team in progressing the restoration project. Helen Whately made clear that she believes that Peel Ports had an obligation to keep the bridge and creek in good working order. She has discussed the situation with the Maritime Minister, and he has written to Peel Ports Chief Executive about Faversham’s bridge and creek. She confirmed to the group that she supports the bridge and creek being locally managed and operated in future, once they have been restored to good working order. Faversham Town Council indicated that they also want to see the bridge and creek back in working order. Next steps included a meeting between the Town Council and KCC to discuss how the bridge could be operated and managed in future, and who would be best placed to take responsibility for it. Sue Akhurst from the Faversham Creek Trust and David Melville from the Faversham Society drew on their knowledge from many years of planning the restoration of the bridge and creek, advising that opening the bridge would be no good without the sluice gates, and ineffective without dredging the basin and much of the Creek. They stressed there is lots of local support to restore the basin to use. Next steps include further discussions between KCC and the Town Council about future operation of the bridge, KCC’s design work on the restoration of the bridge and discussions with Peel Ports, and Helen Whately’s ongoing engagement of the Maritime Minister to encourage Peel Ports to play their part. The group is due to convene again later this year.
A joint initiative by the Maritime Heritage Trust (MHT) and National Historic Ships (NHS) Shipshape Network, with strong support from European Maritime Heritage (EMH), proposes that historic ports and harbours in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland become officially recognised as ‘Heritage Harbours’. The developing Heritage Harbours recognise the great value in sensitively developing their, often superb, historic buildings; waste land; mooring; and maintenance facilities for both local and visiting historic vessels and are identified within the NHS Shipshape Network regions.
MEDWAY HH1 – The proposal to designate Medway as the first British heritage harbour was presented to a meeting, of the local maritime heritage community and associated stakeholders at the Sun Pier House tea rooms on 10 December 2018. The meeting, at Sun Pier House, Chatham, was well attended by some forty enthusiastic representatives from the local historic vessels; the Medway Council; MHT Trustees; the Thames Sailing Barge community and representatives from Faversham. Medway Council have appointed a senior officer to represent the council on the Medway HH forum group. We are in discussions with the directors of Sail Training International, with a view to Medway being a Tall Ships race port in 2025. This will be the main agenda item at the next Medway Heritage group meeting. The ‘Boat Shed’ and other historic buildings and wharves, which form part of the historic Sheerness naval dockyard, may lead to Sheerness becoming an integral part of Medway Heritage Harbour.
FAVERSHAM & OARE HH2 – Faversham & Oare Creeks Heritage (FOHHG) have met regularly since early 2019 at Faversham Guildhall. Aims and objectives have been developed and considerable work in optimising balanced development and improvement of the creeks has already been carried out by group members. An exciting feature is that Kent County Council has continued the design work for the replacement Faversham upper creek bridge through the lockdown.
Peel Ports have advised that, due to movement and deterioration, the steel framed remains of the vessel “Revenge” that was abandoned in Faversham Creek will be partially removed. The vessel “Liftmoor” will be on site from Monday 1st June 2020 and will be working for approximately 5 days to remove the bow section and parts of the superstructure that are causing a hazard to navigation. The operation will involve cutting/grinding of the steelwork and due to the nature of this “hotwork” passing craft are requested to navigate with caution. “Liftmoor” will maintain a listening watch on VHF Channel 74 at all times.
Derek Meadows has sent us this photo of what remains of the notorious “pirate ship” Revenge, which mysteriously burnt after coming adrift in Faversham Creek. The steel structure is only held on by the stern. Derek fears that the wreck may topple and block the narrow navigable channel. He has contacted Peel Ports with his concerns but not yet had a reply.
After years of campaigning, the swing bridge at Faversham has been lifted for inspection of the mechanism. If all goes well this should lead to the basin being usable again for barges and water activities.
DUNCAN WELLS, author of the highly-regarded “Stress Free” series of instructional books and DVDs on sailing, motor boating and navigation, will be guest speaker at Hollowshore Cruising Club, Faversham, on Saturday October 19 at 7pm. There is no entry charge, and visitors are welcome. He has a wealth of experience as an RYA instructor and skipper, and as Principal of Westview Sailing School, which produces the Westview Sailing RYA shore-based Day Skipper and Yachtmaster video tutorials used by RYA students. His presentation will include “robust” techniques for casting off and coming alongside from the cockpit. Hollowshore CC’s clubhouse is at Youngboats Yard, Oare Road, Faversham ME13 7TX.
Alan Thorne has arranged for Alec Jordan to visit Faversham this weekend, to talk about the St Ayles Skiff community boat building project. All are welcome to this talk at the Prifier Building, 2.30pm. Faversham Creek Trust is supporting Alan to develop a Community Boat Building Project for Faversham. After Alec’s talk, Rosemary Devos of Coast for Life will be speaking briefly about her ambitions for developing connections and actions, bringing together people all along our coastline to bring many benefits to our communities.
We are sad to announce the death from cancer of Lena Reekie, who founded the Faversham Nautical Festival and was the match secretary of the Kentish Sail Association for over 40 years.
Dick Durham writes, “I know it’s frowned upon these days to describe a person by their physical appearance, but if you were describing Lena Reekie to an alien you would say: ‘She’s slim, blonde and Swedish.’ Had the alien then been blessed with the good fortune to be invited to her birthday bash last August, as I was, he would have bought the wrong greetings card: one which read: ‘Have a Happy 60th Birthday.’ That she was 80 surprised Lena as much as everyone else. ‘I know,’ she said, ‘I know,’ in her husky voice, when I protested, genuinely, that this could not be so. If I can get halfway near to approaching my own demise with the grace, good humour and happiness that Lena displayed, I will die a happy man. RIP Lena”