Community helps out with barge restoration

09:00 20 January 2013

The Thames Barge Vigilant, which is currently being restored at Topsham Quay.

The Thames Barge Vigilant, which is currently being restored at Topsham Quay.

Archant

Restoration work on the Thames barge moored in Topsham Quay is now well under way, with members of the community pitching in to help out.

Vigilant was rotting in a boat yard in Essex before it was bought by Benjamin Squirrell.

His friend, Topsham boat builder Dave McCabe, then visited the boat to carry out enough repairs for it to be brought back to Topsham late last year.

Now it is safely moored at the Quay, work has begun on stripping wood from the side of the barge.

Dave said: “An elderly lady had lived in it for about 14 years … and since then nothing was done to it and it started rotting in fresh water.

“We repaired the bottom in Essex, and the rudder was redone to get her back. Now we’re removing the outer planks to expose the frames, taking any out which are bad or rotten and replacing the frames with oak.

“It looks like a mess, but in real terms everything’s here to make it work. We hope that in about a year and a half we’ll be up and running – we won’t be here for years and years.”

During its time in Topsham, the boat has attracted many interested spectators, and some of these have volunteered to help out with the restoration.

Dave said: “We want people to see what we’re doing. Everyone’s interested in it and instead of making it closed off, we want everybody to join in.”

One of the volunteers helping to strip down the barge is Tony Cooper.

He said: “I think [my interest is] basically because it’s history, and you have to maintain it and restore it and show it to the next generation.

“I’m a retired headteacher so my interest is in the education side of things. We can’t get kids down here at the moment, but if people don’t do it we’ll never have it, and kids won’t know about these types of barges.”

To find out more about Vigilant, or to volunteer to help, email info@vigilantbarge.com.

0 comments

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 15:34
Police slow sign

A pensioner had to be taken to hospital after her car rolled just outside Clyst St George.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:15
Centre Stage award winners Matthew Jackson (left) with the Members' Member award, and Josh Brown (right) with the President's Cup, with company president Clare Tate.

It’s been another glittering week of awards for Exmouth youth theatre group Centre Stage, with one of its productions named as the best in the South West.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:48
John Treagood tries out his new wagon

There was a happy ending for travellerJohn Treagood when his new home was delivered just days after horse, Misty, arrived. John’s much-loved horse Gildor died a fortnight ago, leaving the traveller stranded; sparking an online fund to be set up to help pay for a new horse.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:03

Fire crews were called out to a tractor fire in Woodbury Salterton on Thursday, March 5.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:56
Darts Farm staff with the FARMA Best Large Farm Shop award

A Topsham farm shop has been recognised as the best in the UK at an awards ceremony.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:08
Steve Race

Labour’s parliamentary hopeful for East Devon, Steve Race, has backed banning MPs from holding ‘second jobs’.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 7°C

Most Read News

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition today E-edition



Exmouth's trusted business finder