Plea for volunteers to help restore historic Blogg boat

The Q J and J boat with Cromer town councillor Cat Plewman. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY The Q J and J boat with Cromer town councillor Cat Plewman. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Richard Batson richard.batson@archant.co.uk
Monday, February 10, 2014
12:50 PM

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A rallying call has been launched for volunteers to help save an historic north Norfolk fishing boat - or at least part of it.

The Q J and J hoveller was the workaday fishing craft of Cromer lifeboat legend Henry Blogg when he was not manning the town’s rescue boat.

But it is now in need of rescuing itself - having been reduced to a sorry state after years sitting on dry land and then awaiting restoration before an estimated £150,000 put the project beyond the reach of current owners Cromer Town Council.

Now two local men, Duncan Abel and Charlie Hodson, are trying to gather together a crew who can seek funding for a locally-driven scheme to find a future for the boat, or possibly just the front bow.

“We will see how much of the boat can be saved - all or part,” said Mr Abel, who is advertisement sales manager for the EDP’s sister boating magazine Anglia Afloat.

“The current cost of a full restoration will be too expensive. It might be better to just save the bow, which is in the better condition - then find a suitable site to exhibit it in Cromer, possibly as a piece of functional art. We would very much like to see the Q J and J in place for her centenary next year.”

Mr Abel, and Mr Hodson, who is executive chef at The Grove, Cromer, and a member of the town’s lifeboat crew, are also keen to hear other people’s views on how to find the Q J and J a future.

The wooden boat was built in 1915 by Robert “Calla” Emery of Sheringham for Henry Blogg’s stepfather John James Davies

She is named after Blogg’s children Queenie and Jack, and his nephew Jimmy.

The Q J and J is reputed to be one of the last hovellers - an unlicensed boat that usually worked off beaches and among other tasks “attended vessels in distress”.

In 1990 she was discovered as a derelict ex-leisure vessel on an estuary in Essex, where she was due for destruction and saved by Sheringham Museum.

Initial estimates for a repair were around £50,000 but later soared to a six figure sum to fully restore the historic crab boat and display it on a canopied plinth to the side of the Gangway behind the inshore lifeboat shed.

Town councillors decided to offer the boat to anyone interested which is when Mr Abel and Mr Hodson stepped in.

Anyone interested in the project can email qjandj@gmail.com

■ Have you got a restoration project that needs help? Contact newsdesk@archant.co.uk.

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