I was delighted to hear that in the Queen’s Honours List, published at the beginning of June 2018, the Merseyside based Steam Tug Kerne Preservation Society was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
This is an MBE equivalent and the highest award given to a voluntary group. It is the first time a historic vessel preservation trust has been honoured in this way.
The award was created in 2002 by the Queen to celebrate the anniversary of her Coronation and recognises excellence in voluntary activity carried out by groups in the community. The assessment process for the award was conducted on behalf of the Queen by Captain Hugh Daglish LVO JP DL Royal Navy, ex Commander of HMY Britannia and His Honour Judge John Roberts DL.
The award citation honours the rescue and preservation of Kerne, one of Britain’s oldest operational steamships.
In 1971 Kerne was the last coal fired steamship to work commercially on the Mersey when the preservation group stepped in and saved her from the scrapyard. Since then, the steam tug has relied on the voluntary effort of its members, public donations and awards granted from The Transport Trust, National Historic Ships, The Pilgrim Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund plus the support of many local businesses such as Cammell Laird, United Utilities and Peel Ports.
The society is dedicated to keeping Kerne in steam and operational as a living reminder to the people of Merseyside and North West Britain of the days of steam at sea.