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£20k fundraiser launched to save historic ferry damaged in storm gales

PUBLISHED: 12:34 29 September 2020 | UPDATED: 19:51 29 September 2020

The wrecked Harwich Harbour Ferry being towed away by the Harwich Haven Authority Picture: COLIN KINGSBURY

The wrecked Harwich Harbour Ferry being towed away by the Harwich Haven Authority Picture: COLIN KINGSBURY

A fundraising page has been launched to help a young family whose livelihood has been stripped away after the Harwich Harbour Ferry was severely damaged by rough seas.

The foot ferry which transports passengers between Felixstowe and Harwich.   Picture: SUE BUNTINGThe foot ferry which transports passengers between Felixstowe and Harwich. Picture: SUE BUNTING

A fundraising page has been launched to help a young family whose livelihood has been stripped away after the Harwich Harbour Ferry was severely damaged by rough seas.

The Harwich Harbour Ferry – which has been run by Chris and Lucy Zemann from Ha’Penny Pier since 2015 – became victim to the strong winds which battered parts of the county on Friday, September 25.

MORE: Historic ferry sinks and suffers ‘significant’ damage in storm gales

The 10-ton, 40ft former lifeboat, tore away from her usual moorings during the storm and suffered “significant” damage as it was becoming partially submerged.

Poor weather was forecast, however experts didn’t predict the severity of the gale force winds which hit Friday night.

Chris Zemann is the owner of the Harwich Harbour Ferry, which was damaged by storms over the weekend. Picture: HARWICH HARBOUR FERRYChris Zemann is the owner of the Harwich Harbour Ferry, which was damaged by storms over the weekend. Picture: HARWICH HARBOUR FERRY

Mr and Mrs Zemann rushed to the ferry’s berth at Ha’penny Pier, Harwich, but were prevented from getting onboard as it was too dangerous. They could only stand and watch as their beloved vessel was wrenched from her moorings and cast adrift.

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

The foot and bicycle ferry service has served the communities of Felixstowe, Harwich and Ipswich for more than 100 years, connecting families and businesses and delighting tourists who wanted to cross the busy harbour.

The owners said they were “devastated” by the damage caused to the foot ferry, but have vowed to bring this vital service back to the communities.

Although the foot ferry is insured, early assessments of the damage suggest there is going to be a major shortfall.

Supporters have launched a GoFundMe page in a bid to raise £20,000 to help top up any insurance pay out and get the service operational, with anything left over being donated to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

More than £3,500 has been raised so far.

Mrs Zemann said: “We are desperate to resume our ferry operation next season, save our livelihood and continue to serve the communities of Harwich, Shotley and Felixstowe, but we need support.

“We are grateful to the team at Harwich Haven Authority, the RNLI and other members of the wonderful community in Harwich who have already rallied around to support us and offered so much practical help and advice.”


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