We wish all our supporters a very happy and prosperous New Year.
Although 2020 hasn’t lived up to our original expectations it has been far from a total write-off. The aft saloon looks fantastic, the purser’s cabin has been constructed and the promenade deck over-plated to keep the rain out. The big project missed from the technical side is, of course, the hull painting and that will now be scheduled for 2021. The need is only too obvious in recent photos. The board and workshop team are now looking to plan a program for 2021 but Covid is still there and who can tell how long the restrictions will remain or what their impact might be.
Financially we have had less income than expected with the loss of visitor income and cancellation of the Ramsgate expedition, but we have had good support from Medway Council and our members and regular supporters. Membership income has risen this year which is certainly good news. There have been some grants and bequests although we did not qualify for most Covid support schemes because of our relatively secure financial state. Expenditure has been down, largely because we’ve done less on the ship, but that at least compensates for the drop in income for the short term anyway.
On the PR side we “lost” Ramsgate of course, although we made South East TV news (in good ways) on two separate occasions, and Medway Queen featured in an Antiques Road Trip episode in the autumn. There have been few events that we could attend – none since the lockdowns started and Mark and Pam’s illustrated talks are on hold. We switched what activity we could to our online effort and that resulted in the award of “Regional Flagship 2020” by National Historic Ships UK. A definite virtual “feather in the cap” for our ship!
Medway Queen West (Reading Support Group) have scraped together contributions totalling £3290 in 2020. This figure includes £510 in donations and membership applications forwarded which will qualify for around £125 in GiftAid. Sales of railway wagons and the Dunkirk book accounted for the majority of the sales profit for the group since Covid restrictions resulted in only 3 days of shows attended (in February and March).
The 00 wagons issued in February and April have all sold out except for a few “Dunkirk” vans still held at the Visitor Centre, the N gauge issue in August has also sold well with only about a dozen remaining. The “Memories of Dunkirk” book published early in 2020 passed the break-even point inside two months and has already realised real profits for the society; as well as being a great PR success.