Cllr Pat Cooper, the Local Authority representative on the Medway Queen Preservation Society Committee, and Labour Councillor for Gillingham, North Ward where the Medway Queen is berthed, tabled a Motion to the Full Council on October 16th about the Medway Queen.
The Motion read:
Medway Council notes the special contribution made by the Medway Queen Paddle Steamer to the history of the UK.
Council believes that the Medway Queen deserves recognition and support as an important part of our Maritime Heritage.
Council requests Cabinet to receive a report setting out details of any funding streams and other support available to the Medway Queen Preservation Society to:
She then relayed her speech to the Council members (below in blue)
Thank you Mr Mayor.
As members can see, I have changed the Tenor of the Motion after taking advice from Officers. At the last Full Council Meeting it was a case of Passion before Procedure, however I will now explain the motion put before you tonight.
I have also produced a folder, a pocket history of the Medway Queen. Hard copies have been given to leading members, and officers, and there are also some available on your desks . Also a link to our Crowdfunding appeal has also been sent to all members and I hope you have been able to watch it.
Mr Mayor, I have only been Medway Council's representative on the Medway Queen Preservation Society Committee since May this year. The Medway Queen is berthed at Gillingham Pier which is in Gillingham North Ward, she is there proudly alongside the LV 21 Lightship, and the sailing ship The Cambria.
The primary objective for our Medway Queen is to get her to a Full working condition, but that is going to take money, a boiler to make the steam, internal infrastructure ,Instructors, aprrenticies, volunteers,and a whole host of other peripheral isues as well.
We really need funding Mr Mayor, which is the object of the motion, but I didn't want to come SAILORS CAP in HAND if you like Mr Mayor to Medway Council as such which is why I tried the Developers Contibutions first, but was told it was not legal to do so.
First of all though Mr Mayor, we want to get her to take part in the 75th Anniversary of Dunkirk being held in Ramsgate next May.
Our Dunkirk appeal has been launched, and Crowdfunder up and running, but it will take a whole lot more than this to get the Medway Queen to where she can be the Pride of Medway once again, in Ramsgate, and be there with all the other famous Dunkirk Little Ships.
It is going to be a huge Event Mr Mayor, it is called OPERATION DYNAMO , SO NAMED AFTER THE ORIGINAL OPERATION IN MAY 1940. We have had a visit from the Co Ordinator of this event, and at this moment she is putting together a Lottery Bid , that will include the Medway Queen as part of the bid.We won't know the result of this, if it is successful, until about Christmastime. Royalty will be present, at this auspicious occasion, and fly pasts by historic war planes,and a whole host of other attractions as well. It will be beamed world wide,AND what a thought Mr Mayor ,members, to have the name of Medway Beamed possibly round the world.
She will have to be towed there of course, but nevertheless this is a huge event.
Mr Mayor we have had a film made about the Medway Queen, and we hope to engage with the BBC, it is a work in progress at the moment, but very moving containing as it does dialogue, photos and actual film from her construction to her wartime heroics, and beyond, with memories of some still living people who owed their lives to this gallant Ship.
I have also , with the agreement of the Developers, at the new Chatham Waters development managed to name the first road in the development as DYNAMO WAY. The connection to Operation Dynamo.
The Medway Queen has been part of Medway Council's Heritage Days, and we had lots of visitors to the ship who marvelled at what they saw. We are actively persuing the Young People for educational purposes through the schools that we are linked with.
I have written to both LEGO and Airfix to find out if a model could be made of the Medway Queen for sale, and received helpful replies as to wht to do next from both.
So Mr Mayor, members, I am asking, on behalf really of the 7.000 soldiers , who were saved by the crew and the Medway Queen, from the beaches of Dunkirk in May 1940, and all the dedicated people who have worked so hard to get her here in Gillingham ,to vote favourably on the motion, and help the Medway Queen to fulfill her dream.
Thank you Mr Mayor.
The motion was immediately seconded by the Cllr Chisti who is also the Conservative member of parliament for Gillingham and Rainham.
Briefly for readers of this information, all Political Parties on Medway Council supported this motion, and proceeded to say just how much the Medway Queen means to the Local people and indeed across the Nation.
Cllr Chisti was able to advise that he had already written to Lord West one of our Patrons and was having a meeting this week with him. He also paid tribute to Former Labour MP Jonathan Shaw who worked very hard for the Medway Queen when he was the Local Labour MP.
Colleagues in the Labour Group were also extremely supportive and Cllr Teresa Murray gave helpful suggestions about Funding Streams such as the Local Enterprise Funding .
The Leader of the Council Cllr Rodney Chambers explained about what the Council had already done in the way of past funding, especially for our apprentices..
It was an extraordinary night , with many Councillors speaking supporting the Medway Queen, my Motion, and everyone who is trying to make the dream of a fully operational ship come true once again.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Diana Smith also explained that her late Husband George Smith would have been proud to support the motion as well.
We feel very proud that the whole of Medway Council is behind our Medway Queen.
We have also had a visit from Radio Kent, and this happened yesterday afternoon. Philip Harrison interviewed Brian Burton the Chair of MQPS and Bob Stokes former project manager, and Cllr Pat Cooper on board the ship. This broadcast will possibly be sometime this week. Probably on the Julia George Show. if that is correct. We hope that we all came across well.
Cllr Pat Cooper
Local Authority representative on the Medway Queen Preservation Society
Labour Councillor for Gillingham, North Ward