S.S. Freshspring – Cllr Dezart’s Story
Posted on 15 March 2016
This is a story from Councillor Gaston Dezart when he met John Puddy and the opportunity for the community and learning that developed:-
Until I met John Puddy I had never heard of the Steamship Freshspring Society or Jobs in Maritime. However a couple of presentations and a membership fee later I am now better informed. The ongoing objective is to publicise the fact that a maritime career is both academic and practical. It may surprise many people that so many different skills and trades onshore apply equally to the maritime sector. The Society’s current aim is to bring the S.S. Freshspring to Bideford Quay in August where the restoration and part conversion will take place, the timescale depending heavily on voluntary contributions and whatever funding we can attract. The steamship was built in 1946 as a water carrier to serve other vessels , and the intention is to convert the water hold into a restaurant. When all the work is completed, this will not only be a wonderful tourist attraction, with short cruises as well as onboard access, but also offer educational facilities to local schools and organisations including Sea Cadets. The steamship is recognised as being of national historical significance and is on the National Register of Historic Vessels. This is the equivalent rating of a Grade 1 listed building. In addition to replenishing water for other ships, S.S.Freshspring was equipped as a fire tender, but there is no record of its activity in that capacity. She remained at Malta until sold in 1979 and then towed to Bristol for preservation.
As part of the fundraising a dinner has been arranged at The Royal Hotel, Bideford on Saturday 23rd April,6.30pm for 7.30pm, tickets £55 for 3 course meal. A special rate for bed and breakfast from £25 has been negotiated, please call 01237 472005 and mention Freshspring.