Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Decaying paddle steamer PS Ryde to be restored

PS Ryde
Image caption PS Ryde is currently lying ashore on the River Medina

The last paddle steamer to carry passengers across the Solent is set to be restored following a successful fundraising campaign.

PS Ryde sailed between Portsmouth and Ryde from 1937 to 1969 and was also requisitioned by the Royal Navy during World War Two.

It is now in a poor state of repair and decaying on the Isle of Wight.

More than £5,000 was raised through crowdfunding to buy and begin restoration of the vessel.

Lisa-Marie Turner of the Friends of PS Ryde said she "just fell in love" with the vessel when she saw it rusting

The money raised has allowed the group to buy the ship and she said it would begin funding applications with the aim of restoring PS Ryde over the next two years.

"She is very delicate, but this is a war veteran, a holiday romance, old-fashioned elegance at its best - and we will do this," she said.

Image copyright IOW Film Archive
Image caption PS Ryde sailed between Portsmouth and Ryde from 1937 to 1969

Named in the National Historic Ships Register, PS Ryde was launched in April 1937 by the Southern Railway Co to work alongside PS Sandown, ferrying passengers between Ryde and Portsmouth.

It was renamed HMS Ryde during World War Two and saw action at Omaha beach as an anti-aircraft vessel during the D-Day landings.

It was also deployed as a minesweeper in the Thames Estuary and Dover Straits.

After being retired from the cross-Solent route, it became a floating hotel off the Isle of Wight in the 1970s and, despite being badly damaged by fire, became a popular nightclub in the 1980s.

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