Tuesday 4th June 2019 was the day that PS Medway Queen received royal recognition; when HRH Prince Michael of Kent paid us a visit. On arrival he was welcomed by the Lord Lieutenant of Kent and Admiral Lord West, President of the Medway Queen Preservation Society. The Mayor of Medway, Habib Tejan, was also among the welcoming party.
Despite rather damp weather the day proved most interesting for His Royal Highness who has an ongoing interest in historic ships and in the Dunkirk Evacuation. He was introduced to the MQPS Trustees in the Visitor Centre. After a short video presentation by Pam Bathurst, he toured the ship where the workshop and "Saturday Team" volunteers and numerous other guests were introduced. The workshop teams had the opportunity to explain their work to His Royal Highness who showed a real interest in what he was seeing. The day ended with a brief reception in the forward saloon and the presentation of a souvenir folder containing the story of Medway Queen and the direction in which we would like the restoration project to develop. The folders were also given to all guests and participants present.
The society hopes that this event will prove to be a springboard for the serious future fund-raising needed to complete the restoration of Medway Queen. In terms of that fundraising they have now three priorities: to complete the preparation of the ship for use as a venue and in the medium term they hope to raise the funds to enable Medway Queen to attend the Dunkirk 80th Anniversary commemorations in Ramsgate next year. Prince Michael alluded to the event and Medway Queen’s participation when he visited. We will need around £20K to meet the anticipated preparation, towage and insurance costs.
For the longer term they must start raising funds to get the ship back into steam, ideally by July 2024; the centenary of her first sailing.