Foot ferry owners ‘overwhelmed’ after community raises more than £8,000 in a week

The communities of Harwich, Shotley and Felixstowe have rallied together to raise more than £8,000 in a week after the historic foot ferry was battered by storms.

The 40-foot Harwich Harbour Ferry was ripped from her mooring at Ha’penny Pier, Harwich, and cast adrift during a huge storm on Friday, September 21.

The boat’s damage has ended her season early and put the future of the service in doubt.

MORE: Historic ferry suffers ‘significant’ damage in storm galesOwners Chris and Lucy Zemann, who saved the ferry business from closure when they took it over in 2015, said they hope the boat can be repaired, if enough funds are raised.

Mrs Zemann said: “We have experts assessing the damage and working on the boat and we are more hopeful than we were.

“We have been overwhelmed by the goodwill messages and by the number of people asking how they can donate to support us. We really want to thank everyone who has already donated to help get the ferry back in operation.

“It is very clear from the wonderful comments on the GoFundMe page and social media that the Harwich Harbour Ferry provides an essential and much-loved service connecting these communities. We are thrilled that so much has been raised already, people are very kind.”

The ferry took on a lot of water during the storms and was half submerged, but luckily the harbour authority was able to tow her to a safe haven on Saturday morning.

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Large sections of the port side of the boat were damaged and the electronic ticketing system and other equipment lost. Five of the six engine cylinders were flooded.

Although the couple are insured, it is clear from early assessments of the damage that there is going to be a major shortfall, so supporters are trying to raise at least £20,000.

The ferry, previously a lifeboat on the SS Canberra, is irreplaceable. It has served the communities for more than 100 years and will only be viable if she can be repaired.

MORE: £20k fundraiser launched to save historic ferry damaged in storm galesTo donate to the fundraising page, see here.

If the money raised exceeds what is needed to repair the ferry and bring it back into operation, Lucy and Chris have pledged to donate the surplus to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

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