Fundraising campaign launched to save historic tug

Tug Wheldale (photo: Yorkshire Waterways Museum)

Tug Wheldale (photo: Yorkshire Waterways Museum) - Credit: Yorks Waterways Museum

The historic ‘Tom Pudding’ tug Wheldale is under threat of being sold off after the closure of the Yorkshire Waterways Museum

Historic 'Tom Pudding' tug Wheldale, under threat of being sold off after the closure of the Yorkshire Waterways Museum, is the subject of a fundraising campaign by a group of the volunteers who helped to restore, maintain and operate the iconic vessel.

Until the early 1980s, coal-carrying compartment boats known as Tom Puddings were a familiar site on Yorkshire's large waterways, being towed in trains of up to 19 to Goole where they were raised by hoists to tip their cargo into ships. After the trade ended, three compartment boats and the 1959 diesel tug Wheldale were preserved at the museum, which came under the Sobriety Project to support disadvantaged people.

However following funding cutbacks the Project went into voluntary receivership earlier this year, leaving the Administrators with a duty to pay off creditors (including redundant staff) by disposing of assets - including Wheldale and the Tom Puddings.

A group of volunteers have formed the Yorkshire Waterways Heritage Society, initially as part of Goole Civic Society, to raise the cash to buy the boats, clear a maintenance backlog, and enable Wheldale to continue carrying passengers around Goole and telling them the story of the port's industrial heritage. As newly elected Chair Rachel Walker put it, "When you think of all the public money and the thousands of hours of volunteers' time that have already gone into Wheldale, we just cannot allow that to be wasted. We need to save her for Goole and Yorkshire."

But they need to raise an estimated £35,000. A crowdfunding campaign has begun, and supporters can donate via or contact Goole Civic Society for more information.