Published: 09:26, 24 July 2021
| Updated: 10:48, 24 July 2021
New photos of an historic ship which helped save thousands of men from Dunkirk in the Second World War have emerged as she awaits restoration.
The Medway Queen is to undergo a £30,000 refurbishment at the Royal Harbour in Ramsgate.
She left her base at Gillingham Pier earlier this month, and was towed to the Thanet port town for the project.
Colin Matthews, from Gillingham, visited the paddle steamer yesterday and is excited to see her returned to her former glory.
Mr Matthews said: "Went to Ramsgate to see Medway Queen moored in Ramsgate Royal Harbour waiting for the slip to be free for its refurbishment.
"She is waiting for tender loving care and litres of paint to restore her to her glory!
"Medway Queen certainly looks tired re her exterior paintwork but, boy, can't wait to see the progress then finished look!"
Diners and drinkers sitting on the terrace at the Royal Victoria Pavilion Wetherspoon's will have the best view of the boat's four-week restoration on the slipway.
The Medway Queen was hailed as the "Heroine of Dunkirk" for her vital role in saving 7,000 Allied troops from the beaches of northern France in the Second World War.
After the war, she was refitted for civilian use and became a floating nightclub off the Isle of Wight, and also carried out pleasure trips to Southend and along the Kent coast.
After suffering damage to her hull, she was towed back to the River Medway on a pontoon, where she fell into disrepair.
Medway Queen Preservation Society was formed in 1985 with an ambitious long-term mission to get repairs done, and through tireless fundraising efforts vital work has been carried out on the ship.
A £1.8 million grant was, eventually, secured from the National Lottery Heritage Fund towards rebuilding the ship's hull and she spent years in Bristol while the repairs were carried out.
The voyage to Ramsgate for extensive work has been in the planning for two years, with numerous areas of the paddle steamer set to benefit from a refurb - including the paddle wheels, hull and the installation of new handrails.
Pam Bathurst, director trustee of the preservation society, said: "The work is essential to help restore her to former glory and the repairs are really needed.
"She is such an important bit of history and we have to look after her otherwise she will deteriorate.
"She will look so grand with a full repaint as she currently looks tired."
After the four-week project in Ramsgate, the vessel will return to her traditional base in Medway.