16 Jul

This week we've made huge progress with NB Daisy. She has gone from looking like a floating bomb site, to something resembling a useable boat.

Thanks to our gift of steel from supporters, Colin and Sarah  and the hard work of our wonderful welder and his team, she now has a spanking new stern, fit for another 50 years!

Her inside isn't looking too shabby either - well, not if you don't look too closely! We need to de-rust, rust kill and seal under her floor but at least the rain isn't getting in any more. Before the floor went back down, she looked much worse - and that goes to show that the smartest boat can have something seriously horrible hidden from site, so always have any boat you consider buying surveyed.

But now the worst of the loose rust has been removed, the boards scrubbed and re-laid, they wobble a bit as the numerous packers aren't down, nor are they secured, but you can walk down her now without coming a cropper when you stub a toe. The thing that's most impressed us is how her cabin side panels have come up. They were, the story goes, the panelling from a bank board room - so they were good quality, and covered in many layers of varnish and polish. The slight dunking they had left a bloom on them  - probably from the Droitwich Barge Canal's slightly salty water.

That was a worry - but if she's had thin ply or chipboard lining, they'd have been done for. A bit of advice from Granny's household hacks - washing them down with warm water with white vinegar in it - and they've come up a treat!

So, we think you'll agree, the inside, on the surface, looks much better! Unfortunately we lost the fridge, so that will need replacing but we think we have one, somewhere, in store...but none of us want to throw out the gas stove - so that needs a check by a gas engineer to see if it can be saved. All of Daisy's custom built wooden kitchen cabinets have survived too - which is brilliant.

We have to do some caulking on her exposed wooden sides - they have shrunk during that heat wave we had - remember that?  But that's relatively simple.

But there's one thing we really need - power! Unfortunately work to Daisy's hull has taken precedence over getting her engine to run, so we need a bit of a push, once she's back in the water. Our Pete and NB Kinver, of Ballinger Towage and Steerage, will tow her back to HQ at Sawley, but she's a big, heavy old gal and he's appreciate her having a  a bit of power of her own to get through the locks. What we need is an outboard motor - Neil and crew are able to weld a holder for one on her stern, but the one we have doesn't have a long enough shaft - so we desperately need the loan of a suitable one. If you can help, we'd really appreciate hearing from you.

Failing that, we'll need as may people as possible, at lock flights, to help Pete through. We'll give you a time table and ask for volunteers nearer the time. But in the mean time - can you give us a push?

Lizzie Lane, Co-chair, The Forces Veterans Afloat Charitable Trust

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