Fundraising boost for restoration of Second World War rescue ship

The Phoenix Variety Showgroup at the fundraising night for the Coronia restoration project. Picture courtesy of Ian Altringham.
The Phoenix Variety Showgroup at the fundraising night for the Coronia restoration project. Picture courtesy of Ian Altringham.

A fundraising night hit all the right notes for a boat being restored in Hartlepool that rescued hundreds of troops from Dunkirk in the Second World War.

The town’s Phoenix Variety Showgroup entertained a packed crowd at The Small Crafts Association.

The MV Coronia

The MV Coronia

In total, the night raised more than £800 for the Coronia which saved 900 Allied troops during the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940 and is now being repaired in Hartlepool.

The event proved such a success that an encore is planned for next year.

Phoenix group member Derrick Rowbotham, which supports a number of good causes through their shows, said: “It was a great night. The audience was fantastic and gave us a fabulous reception.

“It was a sell out, people who wanted to couldn’t get tickets, so we are going to do another one in March again at the Small Crafts club.”

The Phoenix are an eight-piece group made up of singers and musicians on keyboards, guitars, ukuleles, and drums.

At the Coronia fundraiser they performed two spots and more than 20 songs.

Derrick thanked Pauline Field for organising the raffle where many winners donated their prizes back again for future draws.

He also expressed his appreciation to Councillor Dave Hunter who gave a speech on the night about the work of the music group.

The Coronia is currently berthed at Navigation Pint on Hartlepool Marina where she is being restored with the aim of taking her a reunion of Dunkirk ‘little ships’ in 2020.

The Phoenix Variety Showgroup will be in action again on Friday night at Carol Hammond Dance Studio, in Dalton Street, in aid of Hartlepool RNLI.