Charity wins prestigious award for restoration work on historic barge

The Thames Sailing Barge Trust was rewarded at the National Transport Trust’s annual awards ceremony for its work on the restoration of a historic boat.

The award was presented to trust member Steve De La Salle during the ceremony held at the Railway Museum, in Fawley, for his work on 101-year-old Thames Sailing barge Pudge.

Pudge, a barge based in Maldon, is one of the two boats the Thames Sailing Barge Trust has worked on, keeping the historic vessel in suitable condition for sailing and for the benefit of the public.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Historic - The Pudge is still going strong todayHistoric – The Pudge is still going strong today (Image: Thames Sailing Barge Trust)

Awards director Paul Brook said: “Thames barges have been a backdrop of the Thames for hundreds of years, and have inspired artists, writers, and photographers through the ages.

“With so much fine work done already, the trust is keen to see Pudge become part of the vista once more.

“For our part, we are delighted to be able to provide support to this worthwhile and worthy project by way of a National Transport Trust Restoration award.”

Established in 1965, originally as the Transport Trust, the National Transport Trust is the only national body which promotes and encourages the preservation and restoration of “Britain’s transport heritage in all its forms”.

Pudge was built in 1922 for the London and Rochester Barge Co and is now over 100 years old.

The barge was bought by the Thames Sailing Barge Trust in 1968 for £750, which was a large amount at the time.

The barge was one of the 850 “Little Ships” used to evacuate Second World War troops from Dunkirk in France in 1940.

The vessel is now regularly moored at the Thames Sailing Barge Trust at Hythe Quay, Maldon.

Originally, she was named Podge after the nickname of a director’s daughter, however, the captain at the time changed the name to Pudge.

When the London Docks closed in 1982, the trust decided to move to Maldon.

Pudge has had a series of restorations, with the latest being in 2019.