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Spectators thrilled as Deben Cherub back on Suffolk water

PUBLISHED: 12:44 01 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:44 01 November 2019

Ariel, Tim Everson's Deben Cherub, looked stunning whilst suspended mid-air before her release back into the water. Picture: GEMMA JARVIS

Ariel, Tim Everson's Deben Cherub, looked stunning whilst suspended mid-air before her release back into the water. Picture: GEMMA JARVIS

Archant

Back where it belongs, a Deben Cherub has been fully restored and returned to the water after being launched back on to the River Deben by the boatyard that created it.

A display showed us the history of the boatyard. Picture: GEMMA JARVISA display showed us the history of the boatyard. Picture: GEMMA JARVIS

Dubbed the East Coast Pocket Cruiser, over 150 people turned out to support the launch of the wooden sailing vessel, one of 17 built in Woodbridge between 1924 and 1937.

The Woodbridge Boatyard, formerly Everson's boatyard, has stood proudly by the riverside for 130 years and hosting the momentous occasion, was thrilled at the crowds that gathered to watch the cherub named 'Ariel'.

With introductions from the Town Mayor and Tim Everson, Ariel's owner and great grandson of the boatyard's founder, it was an emotional moment that drew loud cheers from spectators as the Deben Cherubs, for many, represent the boatyard.

Accompanied by music from the Harbour Lights Trio, owner Eric Reynolds was overwhelmed at the support from locals and said: "I am delighted with the turnout.

There was a show of togetherness and a sense of community spirit amongst the supporters at the riverside. Picture: GEMMA JARVISThere was a show of togetherness and a sense of community spirit amongst the supporters at the riverside. Picture: GEMMA JARVIS

"I am so pleased that the people of Woodbridge, even visitors from Venice, have turned out to support traditional boat building.

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"It's through the love and commitment of the boat owners that they have survived."

In April this year, Mr Reynolds dropped anchor at the boatyard and promised that he was here to keep the local boating community alive and having kept his word, the people from the town are overjoyed their maritime heritage is being preserved.

The boatyard has been attracting new customers, particularly those with classic boats in need of traditional skills. Picture: GEMMA JARVISThe boatyard has been attracting new customers, particularly those with classic boats in need of traditional skills. Picture: GEMMA JARVIS

Mayor Eamonn O'Nolan opened the special event and said: "I think this is truly amazing. Wooden boat building is dying all over the world and it's extremely unique and rare to find somebody like Eric Reynolds who has a passion for this.

"He has saved something from destruction."

Mr Everson has been restoring Ariel throughout the summer and was always hopeful of keeping the Everson name going.

He said: "The boatyard always felt like home, it provided an anchor for me which was really important.

A crowd of over 150 people turned out to support the boat launch in a show of solidarity over the town's maritime heritage. Picture: GEMMA JARVISA crowd of over 150 people turned out to support the boat launch in a show of solidarity over the town's maritime heritage. Picture: GEMMA JARVIS

"I'm so pleased that the cherubs are coming home. It's good to see so many people who appreciate that and it's a very poignant moment for me.

"My great grandfather would be smiling."

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