WHEN she was towed away from her mooring at Newnham last year she was just a rusting hulk, left mouldering on the banks of the Severn for 20 years.

But today, the SS Freshpring is well on its way to a full restoration and a new life as a tourist attraction at Bideford in Devon.

The SS Freshspring Society has just been awarded a £61,000 grant for its two-year programme to reopen the ship as a heritage attraction.

When completed, SS Freshspring will be a nationally recognised attraction and asset, engaging up to 120,000 people a year through a combination of work, education and tourism.

John Puddy, trust chairman, said: “This is a huge step forward for the trust.

“The National Lottery grant was substantially matched in Devon by Torridge District Council, Bideford Bridge Trust and The Balsdon Trust, demonstrating very considerable local support.

“In addition match funds have been awarded by The Headley Trust along with individual Trust Membership support.