Suffolk

Suffolk harbour master boat fire: Fundraising target exceeded

Ramsholt harbour master George Collins
Image caption George Collins thanked people for their donations

Almost £2,700 has been raised for an 89-year-old harbour master whose boat-cum-office went up in flames and was destroyed.

George Collins was making a cup of tea with his brother Bill when the blaze broke out on 8 September.

The twins tried to stop the flames from spreading but in the end they had to leave the boat on the River Deben estuary at Ramsholt, Suffolk.

A funding page was set up to help them replace the possessions they lost.

Image caption Harbour master Mr Collins used the boat as his office
Image caption He has been settling into his new temporary office, a caravan, on the banks of the River Deben estuary

Mr Collins thanked everyone who donated.

"It's a big gesture and we've not really taken it in," he said.

The page was set up by the neighbouring pub, The Ramsholt Arms, after a number of customers asked how they could help.

A target of £1,000 was set but £2,669 has been raised so far.

Image copyright Ramsholt Arms
Image caption Mr Collins was on the boat with his twin brother Bill, left, when the fire broke out

Meanwhile, Mr Collins has been settling into a new temporary office - a caravan that is on loan to him.

He said: "I prefer the old boat because I got so used to it but we're now getting used to the caravan, being static and it don't move in the wind."

However, the harbour master of 40 years said he had no intention of retiring.

"There's no idea of giving up yet - the only time I'll give up is when I'm in a box," said Mr Collins.

Image caption Mr Collins had owned the boat for 50 years

At the time, Mr Collins said the fire started when the brothers were making a cup of tea with a gas bottle.

He said they were "dragged out of the way" as they tried to go back to the boat, which Mr Collins had owned for 50 years, to retrieve some items.

The Ramsholt Arms posted details of the fire on Facebook, and dozens of people replied to express their relief the twins were not hurt.

Image copyright Geograph/John Sutton
Image caption The harbour master's boat, with the blue/grey hull, is visible between the boom and deck of the vessel on the water, pictured before the fire
Image caption Ramsholt lies on the eastern bank of the River Deben between Woodbridge and Felixstowe

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