A public meeting in February officially launched the Dover Steamship Company, which aims to bring former cross-Channel turbine-powered car ferry Dover (1965/3,641gt) back to Kent for restoration. She is currently lying at Middlesbrough as Tuxedo Royale, having been used as a floating nightclub elsewhere. Richard Moffatt, the driving force behind the project, confirms that owners Abel Ltd will deal with a heritage group.

The aim is to raise £200,000 to acquire the vessel and tow her to Dover, where negotiations for a berth have started with the backing of local MP Charlie Elphick, who said: ‘Dover could bring inspiration to the local population, assisting with regeneration and boosting tourism’.

Built at Wallsend by Swan Hunter, the stern-loading Dover was delivered in June 1965 for Dover-Calais service and renamed Earl Siward after a winter 1977-78 refit at Aalborg, Denmark that included conversion to drive-through operation. Her Sealink career ended with her sale in 1981 to Cypriot operator Sol Lines for a spell as Sol Express, prior to a return to Britain.