The Dorothy Melinda Hastings fishing boat on display outside the stationThe Dorothy Melinda Hastings fishing boat on display outside the station
The Dorothy Melinda Hastings fishing boat on display outside the station

Historic Hastings fishing boat destined for the scrap heap as battle to save it looks lost

The campaign fighting to save an old Hastings fishing boat from destruction has been dealt a massive blow with Hastings Borough Council saying it can no longer delay its removal.

The clinker built boat Dorothy Melinda has been on display on an island outside Hastings railway station for the past 15 years. It is the first thing visitors to Hastings see when they arrive in the town by rail.

She was due to be removed and demolished at the end of January, due to her deteriorating state, but local man Peter Carney launched a campaign to have her restored and put on display in Hastings old Town.

Last month he asked the Council for a stay of execution while money was raised and volunteers found to carry out restoration work on her. A Just Giving page was set up to raise funds.

Peter said, at the time: "She wants tender loving care not a wrecking ball. After the destruction of RX134 Stacey Marie last year, Hastings now has only seven full-size wooden fishing boats left and it could very easily be only four before very long.”

But Peter was contacted by the Council last week to say his request for a delay in the removal of the boat was being refused. Hastings Council told him: ‘The roundabout is owned by Southeastern railway and was leased to HBC for a fixed period for the placement of the boat. That lease has now expired and the obligation to remove the boat is now urgent.

‘In addition to this obligation, it is the Council’s opinion that the boat is beyond reasonable repair and provides a potential health and safety risk to the public and traffic around the very busy station area.

"Therefore HBC cannot provide you with a further extension period. HBC’s obligations in fulfilling our statutory, legal and health and safety responsibilities to remove the boat from the roundabout are now a priority. HBC will now instruct contractors to remove the boat.’.

Peter said: “It is a huge disappointment but it looks like that’s the end, barring a genuine miracle. For the money raised, I will ask individual donors what I should do with their donations. Any not returned will be used for the maintenance of other retired fishing boats at risk, whether at the Fishermen’s Museum, on the fishermen’s stade or the two historic lifeboats.”

Dorothy Melinda was originally built in Newhaven in 1958 for local fisherman, Jimmy 'Toller' Adams. He fished in her for 26 years, beach-launched from Hastings fishermen's beach, until 1984.

There is now only one wooden decked fishing boat working off Hastings beach.