National Historic Ships UK (NHS-UK) 2019 Award Winners announced

The winners of National Historic Ships UK’s 2019 Photography Competition, Marsh Volunteer, Flagship and Excellence in Maritime Conservation Awards were revealed at a prestigious ceremony at Queen’s House, Greenwich, London.

National Historic Ships UK’s annual awards ceremony is a celebration of maritime heritage around the UK coasts, lakes, and rivers, encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with historic vessels through photography, volunteering, conservation, operational use and by opening them to the public at festivals and events.

The accolade of overall winner of the 2019 Photography Competition was awarded to David Stearne after his image, ‘Ena - Heroine of Dunkirk, saved 100 lives, now rotting in the mud on the Hoo peninsula‘, was chosen from hundreds of entries to scoop the £1,000 prize awarded by National Historic Ships UK.  The prize will go to a vessel of David’s choice on the National Register of Historic Vessels.

The competition was strong this year with outstanding submissions from a wide range of entrants. The judging panel was delighted to see both professional and amateur photographers represented, although to ensure fairness these details are not disclosed when selecting the best photographs.  Commenting on the winning image, head judge David Newberry said:

We found this a very evocative and moving photograph which well portrays the fate which awaits too many of our historic vessels, even those with an illustrious past.“

National Historic Ships UK’s Photograph of the Decade, chosen from the judges from the overall photo competition winners from the past ten years, was awarded to Yasmin Steel from Australia, for her image ’50 Degrees South’.

The competition has been supported this year by Arthur Beale, The Medusa Trust, Adlard Coles, Classic Boat, Park Lane Press, Robbins Timber and the National Museum of the Royal Navy. 

See the end of this post for a complete list of this year's winners and click here to see the winning and highly commended images in each category.


Now in their ninth year, the Marsh Volunteer Awards recognise outstanding volunteers in the conservation or operation of historic vessels in the UK.

Two Individual Marsh Volunteer Awards were presented this year to Malcolm Bremner, for his contribution to The Wick Society in Scotland and work with Isabella Fortuna, and Patrick Fox, for his dedication to maintaining and sailing the historic sailing barge Edith May.  Malcolm and Patrick shared a prize of £500.

The Marsh Team Volunteer Award was presented to the Ross Revenge Restoration Group based in Essex.  The team received a prize of £1000.

The Engaging with the Public Marsh Volunteer Award was presented to the Friends of Kennet, Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society.  The team received a prize of £500.

In addition, a Lifetime Achievement Marsh Volunteer Award was presented to Brian Goodhew, from the Medway Queen Preservation Society in Gillingham. 

The Marsh Volunteer Awards are supported by the Marsh Christian Trust.


For the first time and in honour of NHS-UK’s late Director, Martyn Heighton, a new annual Award was launched to mark best practice in the conservation of historic vessels.  It will be known as the Excellence in Maritime Conservation Award.  A special trophy was commissioned using funds donated at Martyn’s memorial service which incorporates wood previously removed from HMS Victory, gifted to NHS-UK courtesy of the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

Highly Commended Award 

Judges were not originally intending to award a Highly Commended prize, but were particularly struck by an application which had applied the principles of Conserving Historic Vessels at a high level to inform the build of a replica craft, carrying out careful off-ship research to underpin the design, and keeping traditional skills alive in its construction and ongoing use and repair.  The Judges’ Special Commendation therefore goes to the Excelsior Trust in Lowestoft, Suffolk, for their newly completed replica ship’s boat


This year’s recipient of the Award is Lakeland Arts, Windermere Jetty Museum.  

The full Award was unanimously given to an organisation which has raised the bar in terms of conservation both through the practical implementation of our principles across its whole collection and the way in which the conservation approach has been conveyed to members of the public.   
The application for this award featured only one of some 40 vessels in the collection – the ferry Mary Anne, collapsing under her own weight in extremely poor condition, which has now been stabilised and, thanks to new recording techniques, preserved in a purpose built 
cradle which is pulling her back into her original shape.  Without the careful conservation approach that has been applied, this vessel would certainly not be here today and it is therefore with great pleasure that NHS-UK announce the Lakeland Arts Trust and the new Windermere Jetty Museum – a project Martyn was heavily involved with first as a monitor and then a trustee, as the first recipient of this Award. 


The annual Flagship of the Year Award for operational vessels was awarded to three Regional historic vessels:

Isabella Fortuna (Scotland), Fishing Vessel in recognition of the role she plays within the local community and the events the team have planned throughout the season.

Kingswear Castle (South West Region), Paddle Steamer in recognition of the high level of engagement she has with members of the public, plus her activities throughout the season.

Kitty (Thames Estuary), Sailing Barge – in recognition of the range of local events the team have planned throughout the season, together with her crew’s commitment to engage and educate passengers in the preservation of traditional sailing skills.

Each Flagship received a broad pennant to fly, together with £250.


For further press information contact:
Kathryn Jones at
T: 020 8312 8558

National Historic Ships UK
Park Row, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF 


Notes for Editors: 

Hi-res images and further information on any of the awards, or further quotes, are available on request.

National Historic Ships UK advises the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and a range of grant giving organisations on priorities for ship conservation and is the official voice for historic vessels in the UK. It maintains the National Register of Historic Vessels, which lists over a thousand significant craft, along with 3 other registers listing the UK’s historic and replica vessels – information at:

For further details on the vessels on the National Register of Historic Vessels (NRHV) visit

The Marsh Christian Trust is a grant making body, established by Brian Marsh in 1981. The Trust provides grants to registered charities working in the fields of social welfare, literature arts and heritage, environmental and animal welfare, healthcare and medical research, education and training and a small number overseas. The Trust also runs a portfolio of Awards with a number of internationally and nationally recognised organizations, which seek to recognise unsung heroes who all aim to improve the world we live in:


Full list of NHS-UK 2019 Photography Competition winners:

Category A – Our Historic Vessels

Winner – Ena - Heroine of Dunkirk, saved 100 lives, now rotting in the mud on the Hoo peninsula, by David Stearne, from Eyethorne, Kent

Highly commended – ss Great Britain, by Peter Pangbourne, from West Mersea, Essex


Category B – A True Classic

Winner –  Priscilla CK437 at Rowhedge Regatta 2019, by Sandy Miller from Chelmsford, Essex

Highly commended - Under sail, by George Fisk, from Whitstable, Kent


Category C – Wish you were here

Winner – Bradwell Balcony, by Stacey Belbin, from West Mersea, Essex

Highly commended –  Well Reefed, by Mike Garlick, from Salisbury, Wiltshire


Category D – Faces of the Sea

Winner – Larry, by George Fisk, from Whitstable, Kent. It was made possible to capture this image thanks to the work of Jack Lowe:

Highly commended – Trinity's Little Helper, by Stacey Belbin, from West Mersea, Essex


People’s Choice

Winner – Trinity’s little Helper, by Stacey Belbin, from West Mersea, Essex

Highly Commended – Reminder at first light, by Shaun Mills, from West Mersea, Essex


Overall 2019 Photo Competition Winner

Ena - Heroine of Dunkirk, saved 100 lives, now rotting in the mud on the Hoo peninsula, by David Stearne, from Eyethorne, Kent


Photograph of the Decade

50 Degrees South, by Yasmin Steel, Australia