Yacht club launches £160k appeal
A YACHT club is seeking help to raise £160,000 to keep it afloat.
A YACHT club is seeking help to raise £90,000 to keep it afloat.
The Deben Yacht Club in Woodbridge requires essential refurbishment to stop the clubhouse from falling into the River Deben.
Concern is growing about the state of some of the wooden stilt piling which props it up, built in 1934, and an appeal has been launched to find the money for wide-ranging improvements.
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Members have been rebuffed in their initial attempts to obtain grants, with no support from Sport England and the Foundation for Sports and the Arts.
However, the district council has given £2,500 and club commodore Simon Shaw is hoping this will kick-start the fundraising campaign.
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The club was formed in 1838 and it is the third oldest yacht club in Great Britain. In 1997, a project costing £50,000 was completed to raise the clubhouse a metre off the mud to stop the building from being swept off its feet.
Now some of the stilts are rotten and need to be replaced. The planned improvements also include replacing the floating pontoons, building a new walkway from the clubhouse to the river and extending the balcony by three metres to give better access for club users.
The club also wants to enhance the changing rooms, extend the decking at one end of the clubhouse and resurface the wooden slipway.
The improvements will need to be phased according to the success of the fundraising appeal.
The total cost is well over £100,000 and initially the club, which has financial reserves, is appealing for £90,000.
Mr Shaw said: “The structural surveyor said 18 months ago we needed to do remedial work on the piling - some of the piles could fail and then the clubhouse would be unusable.
“If we cannot find the funding then we will have to use some of our reserves to renew the existing piling.
“The club has been here since 1838 and I would hate to think that it was in my term of office as commodore that it fell into the river.”