Freshspring wins ‘Marsh Group Volunteer Award’ at National Historic Ships UK 2022 Awards


Last night we celebrated a fantastic milestone achievement as we won the ‘Marsh Group Volunteer Award’ at National Historic Ships UK 2022 Awards! The awards encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with static and operational historic vessels through photography, volunteering, conservation, online activities and skills-based training.


Freshspring’s chairman, John Puddy, was thrilled to win the award, “A big thank you to the Marsh Trust and National Historic Ships for this wonderful award in recognition of our amazing team of volunteers. The funds will be incredibly valuable to us! Of course, a big thank you to all our volunteers for embarking on this journey; since the charity was formed nine years ago, we have worked together on key projects and ongoing restoration work. We have also held fantastic events onboard such as sea shanty concerts and most recently, a thought-provoking play was performed on the main deck to help raise money for the North Devon and Cornwall Samaritans. Thank you to all our volunteers who selflessly give their time, energy and enthusiasm to the Trust.”  


Our winning application detailed the incredible work undertaken by our team of volunteers during the last two years (2020-2022) including some key milestones within a somewhat challenging background with the pandemic. To name but a few:

• Our volunteers worked vigilantly on the ship’s maintenance ahead of her visit to the Harland and Wolff (Appledore) dockyard in May 2021 for an important dry dock survey

• The mast was stepped in August 2021 Our volunteers were due to shape the tree, a Douglas Fir donated by Lord Clinton, into a 10-inch diameter pole, tapered over the top 12 feet, but due to lockdown and restrictions, this task fell mainly to Pete Gillett, the ship’s manager,  to complete in his own time which was a massive undertaking.

• We celebrated SS Freshspring’s 75th anniversary in August 2021 with a family bank holiday open day with 300+ visitors to the ship participating in a range of activities!

• At the end of 2021 we held a ‘Sea shanty and seafood event’ commemorating The Burton at Bideford’s 70th birthday .


Simone Thompson, the CEO of TTVS, based in Bideford was full of praise:

“We are really pleased and proud of all that SS Freshspring has achieved over recent years and we are proud to have been part of that journey.  It’s become a pivotal part of the local landscape and plays a crucial role in supporting the local community and volunteering.  SS Freshspring has brought onboard a whole range of different volunteers from all ages and backgrounds, giving them the opportunity to hone and build new skills.

The charity has taken this to the next level and is playing a role in social prescribing, with someone placed with SS Freshspring for their health and wellbeing.  A true testament to the value of SS Freshspring and the work they do.”

We are recruiting for new volunteers for 2023 in a range of roles, from stewarding onboard (Sundays) to maintenance work and repairs on the steamship (Wednesdays). There are also ‘work from home’ roles available such as data entry, finance and marketing. If you would like more information on volunteering, then please send us an email to register your interest at

or through the website

A big thank you once again to all our wonderful volunteers, this award goes a small way to recognise your tremendous work.