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Dunkirk Little Ship to be turned into floating museum

Skylark IX will be fully restored by boatbuilders before returning to the water on the Clyde.

A Dunkirk Little Ship which saved 600 lives has been given more than £400,000 to turn it into a floating museum.

Skylark IX has been granted the money by the National Lottery for its restoration.

Once complete, it will sail on the Clyde as a museum telling the story of its role saving lives at Dunkirk in the Second World War.

Anne Dyer from the Skylark IX Recovery Trust said: "Not one day did we ever believe we could not face this huge challenge and in true Dunkirk spirit we never gave up.

"When we started this venture, we never really knew the climb we had in front of us but in our hearts we had a sense that if we set out our vision and gather like-minded people then we would get there in the end.

"Funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund has made this mission real."

Built as a passenger cruiser for 75 people in 1927, Skylark IX was called to the aid of the stranded Allied troops in Dunkirk in 1940 as part of Operation Dynamo.

She, and the ordinary seamen that sailed her, saved over 600 lives.

After the war, Skylark IX was out to work across the UK, ending up as a cruise ship on Loch Lomond where she hosted veterans' reunions every year to remember Dunkirk.

The ship gradually fell into disrepair and sank on Loch Lomond in 2010.

Now, raised by the Royal Navy following a veterans' campaign, Skylark IX is currently located at the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine.

The restoration will be undertaken by a specialist boatbuilding team working with recovering drug addicts as part of a skills development programme, run by Dumbarton-based charity, Alternatives.

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