The Merseyside based Steam Tug Kerne Preservation Society has been awarded The Queens Award for Voluntary Service in the Queens Honours List published on 2nd June 2018. This is an MBE equivalent and the highest award given to a voluntary group. It is the first time a historic vessel preservation trust has been honoured in this way.
The award was created in 2002 by the Queen to celebrate the anniversary of her Coronation and recognises excellence in voluntary activity carried out by groups in the community. The assessment process for the award was conducted on behalf of the Queen by Captain Hugh Daglish LVO JP DL Royal Navy ex commander of HMY Britannia and His Honour Judge John Roberts DL.
The award citation honours the rescue and preservation of Kerne, one of Britain’s oldest operational steamships.
In 1971 Kerne was the last coal fired steamship to work commercially on the Mersey when the preservation group stepped in and saved her from the scrapyard. Since then, the steam tug has relied on the voluntary effort of its members, public donations and awards granted from The Transport Trust, National Historic Ships, The Pilgrim Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund plus the support of many local businesses such as Cammell Laird, United Utilities and Peel Ports.
The society is dedicated to keeping Kerne in steam and operational as a living reminder to the people of Merseyside and North West Britain of the days of steam at sea.
Paul Kirkbride, a Director of Steam Tug Kerne Preservation Society said, “We are bowled over by the Queen Award and recognition of the work of our group over the last 47 years. Our member’s dedication has been an example of what can be achieved for the benefit of the nation’s maritime heritage and is enjoyed by many thousands of people who have seen Kerne steaming to events and come aboard to learn about a living steamship of the Titanic era”.
Kerne historic notes.
Builders. Montrose Shipbuilding Company, Montrose, Scotland, launched 1912.
Engine. 400 hp triple expansion steam by W.V.V Lidgerwood, Coatbridge, Scotland.1912.
Boiler. Twin Furnace coal fired Scotch, H.M. Dockyard Chatham 1936, fuel consumption up to 200 kilos per hour.
From 1913 until 1948 she served the Royal Navy as H.M. Tug Terrier based at Chatham Dockyard Kent. She is the last operational ex Royal Navy First World War ship still with her original engines.
Renamed Kerne, between 1949 and 1971 she worked commercially for Liverpool Lighterage Co., towing barges on the Mersey, Manchester Ship Canal and Weaver Navigation.
In 1971 Kerne was the last coal fired steamship at work on the Mersey and she was about to be scrapped when the society bought her for preservation. Since then she has been kept in operational condition by the society and during each summer season has steamed to public events on Merseyside and around the North West of Britain.
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