Dunkirk re­turn for ‘lit­tle ship’ Will­dora

Sunderland Echo - - The Tall Ships Races 2018 are here -

Sun­der­land’s “lit­tle ship” with a big his­tory is set to re­turn to Dunkirk where she helped res­cue troops in the fa­mous evac­u­a­tion more than 75 years ago.

Mo­tor Fish­ing Ves­sel (MFV) Will­dora is due to take part in the Pa­rade of Sail to­mor­row, hav­ing been lov­ingly re­stored by Sun- der­land Mar­itime Her­itage (SMH) vol­un­teers.

But the team at SMH are al­ready look­ing for­ward toa fur­ther hon­our for the ship, as she is set to form part of a flotilla head­ing for the French coast.

John Sum­ner from SMH said: “Every three to four years lit­tle ships are in­vited to Ply­mouth, and from there they set off for Dunkirk. The next one is in two to three years’ time.”

But first it’s her big day at the Tall Ships.

He added: “She will be tak­ing part in the Pa­rade of Sail on Satur­day, and that’s fan­tas­tic news con­sid­er­ing her his­tory and where she’s come from.”

SMH is run­ning a stall pro­fil­ing its work and Sun­der­land’s mar­itime his­tory as part of the Tall Ships events.

Mr Sum­ner said the team had at­tracted in­ter­ested vis­i­tors from around the world al­ready, in­clud­ing the US.

The Will­dora was built in 1901 and was one of three iden­ti­cal boats, each given the name of their owner’s wife or daugh­ter. In May 1940, she was one of about 850 pri­vate boats which sailed from Eng­land across the Chan­nel to help res­cue more than 336,000 British and French troops who were trapped on the beaches in the Sec­ond World War.

Mo­tor Fish­ing Ves­sel Will­dora.

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