Further deterioration of the PS Ryde, which has been laid up on the banks of the River Medina for decades, has resulted in a team of enthusiasts admitting defeat and saying goodbye to hopes of restoring her to a former glory.
In a post on the PS Ryde Facebook page this evening (Thursday), it has been announced that the decision has been made to let the paddle steamer turned nightclub go. As a result, any donations made will not be returned but diverted to fund the continued restoration and operation of the Medway Queen.
Lisa-marie Turner, the driving force behind plans to remove and restore the now bare-bones wreck, has said that a visit in December revealed that the bridge of PS Ryde has collapsed so much that it is now resting on the bow of the vessel. Wood protecting windows has disappeared and where there was once a steady floor is now collapsing.
The state of the ship has caused greater environmental issues and as a result local authorities have advised the restoration group that permits would need to be applied for and the derelict vessel removed as soon as possible. However, the company lined up to do the related groundworks were unable to so during December due to a very high tide.
Ms Turner has said that after meeting with the different companies involved, she and the team were given the heart wrenching choice of accepting that PS Ryde would not be removed the way they had planned – and therefore dismantling would be the only viable option – or they tried to remove her and therefore create further environmental issues.
As a result of a meeting on 20th December it has been agreed by all parties involved to say goodbye and let the PS Ryde go.
Other options are being explored says Lisa, but she states that she cannot comment on this any further for legal reasons. That said, the future of PS Ryde looks bleak.
Responding to critics, Lisa-marie Turner has said that any donations made to a Go Fund Me will now be diverted to the Medway Queen project, as stated on the original donation page. Furthermore, Lisa has said that the group never claimed to be a charity nor a trust, although PS Ryde Trust was due to be transferred to her ownership.
In thanking those involved, both on and off the Island, Lisa has tonight said:
“Although this breaks our hearts, we want to thank each and everyone of you whom has stood by us through this emotional journey. There has been moments where we wanted to quit at the beginning when people showed nothing but anger towards us and doubt, but the truth is, you never know till you try. We took a risk, its more than some have done. We were given a chance and we went for it with both hands.
“There was times where I cried myself to sleep. I traveled 3,320 miles in 6 months, I never gave up until the end. When its out of your hands and you got to make a choice, its hard.
“Remember, we got this far and it’s the furthest anyone has got since 1977!”
Mark Young, a Director of the Paddle Streamer Ryde Trust Ltd, has confirmed the Trust’s position:
“As one of the directors of the Charitable Trust , I would just like to say, that over a course of many years, we did indeed have many attempts to negotiate the purchase of PS Ryde. Sadly, none of which ever came to fruition.
“We kept the company up to date and dormant in case another opportunity should arise for us, which unfortunately it never did.
“In May 2018, Lisa contacted me to say her and her team were in negotiations with the owners of Ryde to purchase the vessel. On the 20th September 2018, as Lisa’s attempt appeared to be making headway towards a purchase agreement for the vessel with the owner, it seemed sensible that to help Lisa and her team, as we had already set up a charity for this purpose, that myself and my fellow directors appointed Lisa and her other Trustees to our charitable trust, and then stepped down ourselves.
“Sadly on the 17th December 2018 it became apparent that Lisa and her teams attempt had faltered, so the Charitable Trust remained with it’s founder directors.
“This trust will remain live, but dormant until the final deconstruction of PS Ryde takes place”.