Restoration project launched to save the Ryde Queen paddle steamer

Isle Of Wight County Press - 15 May 2018

LISA Turner is a woman with a dream — to restore a crumbling Isle of Wight paddle steamer and see it sail again.

Formerly a passenger ferry, then a wartime anti-aircraft vessel that took part in the Normandy landings, and finally the Ryde Queen floating nightclub, the PS Ryde has been largely abandoned at Island Harbour Marina.

Lisa, who owns ship restoration company Siward and Co, said she fell in love with the rusty old steamer as soon as she saw it.

"I came down to see her a few weeks ago, she's lovely. There is something romantic about it, that nostalgia," said Lisa, 35, who travelled to the Isle of Wight from her home at Cramlington, Northumberland.

She has since posted details of her plans on the Isle of Wight Heritage Group Facebook Page.

"People will say it's never going to happen, but look at the Waverly and the Medway Queen — that's what it could be like," she said.

"She's got life left in her yet, I'm sure of it. I'd love to get her back up and running."

Lisa, who studied underwater archaeology at Southampton University, and whose uncle was a shipbuilder, founded Siward to restore another old vessel — the TSS Dover turned Tuxedo Royale floating nightclub, moored at the River Tyne, Gateshead.

Sadly, the vessel was struck by fire and had to be scrapped, but it was after that restoration campaign her thoughts turned to the PS Ryde.

Once Lisa has returned to Newport with an expert from National Historic Ships UK to carry out an appraisal, she plans to establish a charitable trust to raise the £7 million to £10 million she estimates it could cost to restore the vessel.

If the restoration goes ahead, Lisa said she would recruit young Islanders as apprentices to learn shipbuilding skills.

"It would be a huge project, and I know you can't save everything," she said.

"But you'll never know unless you try."


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