It is always a pleasure to welcome visitors who were part of past episodes in Medway Queen’s career. Whether that be seaside excursions, minesweeping, Dunkirk or the Medway Queen Club. Medway Queen Club musician, Keith Roberts, visited in June and on Saturday we had the pleasure of welcoming Kim Tocher and her husband, Don. Kim is the daughter of Alan Ridett who took the ship to the Isle of Wight in 1965 and opened her as the Medway Queen Club, centre piece of a new marina, the following year.
The Medway Queen Club was very successful under Alan Ridett’s stewardship, to the extent that he bought PS Ryde when her career as a Solent ferry ended and added her to the marina’s attractions. In the 1970s, under new management, the character of the club changed significantly and as the market changed the club waned in favour of the larger Ryde Queen. In 1974 the Medway Queen Club closed for the last time but it was another ten years before the old ship was repatriated to the river Medway by Jim Ashton and his colleagues.
Kim and Don were pleased to see how the society volunteers are continuing the preservation of the ship. No doubt they admired the new aft deck-house which is reminiscent of the one installed on the Isle of Wight. Ann is a member of the society and has followed developments online and in Full Ahead and wanted to see the progress for herself. Some of the pictures featured in the Visitor Centre had been provided by her family, covering the ships time on the Isle of Wight. They also contributed enormously to our accounts of the club in both “The Medway Queen” history book and the later “Medway Queen Club” 50th anniversary book.
Although it was a grey day the visit had been a great trip to remember times when she had the run of the ship.
Photos: Top: Kim and Don in the lower saloon display area - Martin Goodhew Centre: The new aft deck-house - Joe Stokes Bottom: The Medway Queen Club kitchens - courtesy of Mark Ridett