John Whittingdale helped launch the perpetuation of Sailing Boat “Pudge” by the Thames Sailing Barge Trust at Hythe Quay, Maldon. The project aims to restore “Pudge” by replacing her decking and hatches, improving her facilities and accommodation, researching and interpreting her heritage and addressing the skills shortage in the Thames Sailing Barge community. It is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund with a grant of £3328,000 and will take approximately two years.

John said: “I am delighted to learn that the Thames Sailing Barge Trust has, with the help of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, raised enough money to proceed with the restoration of SB Pudge. For may people, the Thames barge is the symbol of Maldon and the Trust does great work in maintaining the two it owns and at the same time keeping alive traditional shipbuilding skills”. 

John is pictured with Mayor of Maldon, Cllr Jeanette Stilts, Chairman of Maldon District Council, Cllr Henry Bass, Chairman of the Thames Sailing Barge Trust, Brian Dawson and other Trust supporters.