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WE'VE DUN IT; Victory in battle to save Dunkirk ships.

Byline: HARRY ARNOLD

THE Mirror last night won its battle to save the Little Ships of Dunkirk.

Lottery bosses have agreed to hand over pounds 274,500 to restore the first of six ships which helped save 338,000 Allied lives in May 1940.

The steam tug Challenge will be rebuilt and form the centrepiece of an exhibition at a former shipyard in Southampton. And Dunkirk Little Ships Restoration Trust hope she will soon be joined by five more boats - including the Chumley.

Appeal chief Jerry Lewis said: "Thanks to the Mirror we've finally won our campaign to save the first of these ships.

"She'll take place pride of place in our exhibition so the heroism of Dunkirk will never be forgotten."

The Challenge will cost pounds 473,000 to restore but with the help of donations the trust is just pounds 40,000 short.

Mr Lewis added: "We are confident of raising the balance."

Heritage Lottery Fund spokesman Michael Houghton said: "We are delighted to support the restoration of this vessel to working order.

"We applaud the dedication of the volunteers."

The Challenge was one of hundreds of boats which set sail with the Navy for Dunkirk in France.

She helped save thousands of lives, pushing larger ships close to shore.

Old soldiers' groups last night applauded The Mirror's victory.

A spokesman for the Royal British Legion said: "We're right behind this all the way.

"It's very important the younger generation understand what their ancestors went through."

And Ian Davidson, of the Friends of War Memorials, added: This is fantastic news - The Mirror has done a first class job."

CAPTION(S):

RESCUED: The Chumley will be restored; SAFE: Dunkirk troops return in 1940
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 4, 2001
Words:284
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