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Awards and Loans

The Trust offers financial assistance to individuals or groups to carry through restoration or improvement projects to completion. The Trust also invites enquiries about sponsoring one or more Awards.



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Clive Purser


2014 Preservationist of the Year Clive Purser


lead the preservation of Steam Tug Challenge which is 110 feet long, 27ft wide, and draws over 14 feet. She was built in 1931 for the Thames Estuary, North Sea and English Channel.

In 1940 she took part in Operation Dynamo, so she is a Dunkirk Little Ship,

albeit one of the bigger survivors.

In 1942 she helped to install anti-aircraft forts in the Thames Estuary and later on towed sections of the Mulberry Harbour from the Thames to the South

Coast. Challenge is very rightly on the National Historic Ships Register.


In 1973 she retired as the last working steam tug to St Katharine Docks from

where after 20 idle years she was 

2014 Preservationist of the Year Clive Purser Enginerescued by the newly formed Dunkirk Little Ships Restoration Trust and moved to Tilbury for restoration.

By 2004 she was in full commission again and voyaged to Dordrecht, Liverpool, Bristol, Brest, London, and in a busy 2005 she returned to Dunkirk, but boiler problems were becoming more insistent and she was again laid up.

In 2007 Clive Purser joined the team investigating the best way forward and following the death of the then Chief Engineer took over that role.


After a number of false starts a replacement boiler was sourced and Clive drew up a detailed specification of all the work which would be involved in the boiler replacement as well as other necessary engineering work.

Clive then led the technical side of the preparation of an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund and a grant of £903,000 was made in March 2012, at which point Clive took on the task of Project Manager.

2014 Preservationist of the Year Clive Purser2


This involved over a year of full time work with both contractors and a faithful and skilled volunteer workforce overseeing the removal and subsequent reinstatement of the funnel and part of the superstructure to enable the extraction the old 20 ton boiler and the installation of the new one. Whilst this was going on the volunteers, led by Clive, stripped down the main engine, lifted the 4 ton crankshaft to remove the bearings for relining and then reassembly. The main shaft and propeller were removed for restoration and

refitted and a whole range of modifications were made to fit her for the future.


She returned to service in May 2013 to star at the Southampton Maritime Festival. 


Challenge’s operational future has been secured by this project, and by Clive’s leadership and skill.

2014 Preservationist of the Year Clive Purser Award
















The National Transport Trust makes loans to groups, associations and individuals at advantageous rates for the restoration of artefacts - whether mobile or part of the infrastructure.  Applications must be supported by a simple business plan which demonstrates the financial viability of the project. A sample business plan is available on request from the Treasurer.


The Trust does occasionaly make Awards for schemes which further the preservation movement. Again if you wish further information please contact the Treasurer.


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National Transport Trust, Old Bank House, 26 Station Approach, Hinchley Wood, Esher, Surrey KT10 0SR