Young’s Seafood, the UK’s leading fish and seafood company, has announced that it will be supporting the preservation and restoration of a historic fishing vessel originally commissioned for the Young’s family nearly 100 years ago.

The Saxonia, which is currently birthed in Pinmill in Suffolk and registered in Leigh-on-Sea, was commissioned by the late William Joseph Young in 1930. Originally bought for the sum of £475 to fish for whitebait off the English Coast, it continued the tradition of William’s great great aunt and Young’s Seafood founder Elizabeth Young, who first started selling whitebait on the banks of the River Thames in 1805.

The historic boat was spotted by 15-year-old Jamie Bellamy-Booth, berthed in the mud near his home on Mersea Island in Essex. Having always dreamed of owning a boat, Jamie located owners using the National Historic Ships register and contacted them to pitch his interest in restoring the vessel. Impressed by his passion, the owners came to an arrangement where he became a co-owner of the boat.

Jamie, now 19, has now been joined by Peter Gilder, a furniture business owner, who is equally passionate about preserving historic boats. Peter was brought up on family members’ sailing boats and has previously completed a number of sailing qualifications.

The 35ft Bawley fishing boat requires major restoration and Young’s is providing funding to support the preservation work. Jamie and Peter are aiming to restore the Saxonia so that the public, including school and educational groups, can experience what life would have been like on a fishing boat nearly 100 years ago.

Paul Craft, Chief Commercial Officer for Young’s owner, Sofina Europe said: “At Young’s we are proud of our history and heritage, and to be able to support the restoration of what was once one of our fishing boats is a great opportunity.

“The Saxonia is an embodiment of Elizabeth Young’s legacy, a female entrepreneur who started selling whitebait and prawns from her hat and went on to found a fleet of Young’s family boats, paving the way for the modern day Young’s seafood business.

“When we heard about Jamie’s story and saw his determination and commitment to restore Saxonia, we knew we had to aid him on his journey. We look forward to supporting Jamie through the next phase and seeing the restoration progress in the years to come.”

Talking about the Saxonia and his work so far, Jamie said: “The restoration of the Saxonia has been a passion of mine since I found her decaying in a mud berth four years ago. Since then, we’ve come a long way but there’s so much more we want to do, and Young’s Seafood’s support is integral to us being able to complete the work needed to restore this amazing piece of history.

“Young’s is also supporting me personally by sponsoring me to take training courses such as RYA Navigation, VHF Radio and Sea Safety, bringing me closer to my goal of being able to take visitors out on the Saxonia and show people what life was like on a fishing boat 100 years ago.”

To learn more about Saxonia’s story and see how you can support the boat’s restoration, you can visit the fundraiser here: