Manx Beauty- rebuild our boat strengthen community

by The Cellardyke Trust in Cellardyke, Scotland, United Kingdom


raised so far

+ est. £1242.50 Gift Aid



The Manx Beauty is a rare, historic Cellardyke-built boat. Her restoration will kickstart our community-wide projects.

by The Cellardyke Trust in Cellardyke, Scotland, United Kingdom

Regular Donations: After you have completed your donation you will be able to set-up a regular donation arrangement to continue supporting this great cause.

1623860526_0_manx_logo.jpgHelp restore the Manx Beauty to the heart of our community.

By restoring this beautiful boat, we want to create learning experiences and inspire skill sharing across all generations. We want the whole community to be actively involved and benefit from Manx Beauty’s new role in future events and projects.

But first we need to complete her restoration, and we need your help to make that happen.


Our vision

The Manx Beauty is a boat well known in Cellardyke - it was built and launched here, and skippered by a man whose family still lives in the area to this day. Knowing its history, we were inspired by stories of the Manx Beauty being used to teach young men new skills, and by the close links that grew between Cellardyke’s community and the Isle of Man (where Manx Beauty was worked). So, in 2019, when the opportunity arose to purchase the boat, The Cellardyke Trust set about returning the boat to her original home.


BUT...this is not just about bringing a beautiful and rare boat back to its former glory.....

.......for there is no point in restoring an old boat if it is not rooted in the community for the future. This is about the Manx Beauty serving as a catalyst for new initiatives - keeping history alive and making it relevant to all generations.

Her days of working as a herring fishing boat may be over but Manx Beauty still has much to offer.

Some of the opportunities she’ll be able to provide once fully restored are:

  • Giving practical sea experience to young people
  • Visiting maritime festivals to promote the community, our history and local businesses
  • Acting as a mobile oral history collection point, attracting people to tell their tales of the fishing industry and communities
  • Creating unique summer school events and live-aboard experiences
  • Developing partnerships with local businesses, enabling us to do onboard sea fish cookery demonstrations

Who are we?

The Cellardyke Trust is a charitable organisation (SCIO), that works alongside other community groups, to support and develop creative ideas that involve bringing people together. Initially we came together as a group of like-minded volunteers, to offer our experience and expertise in helping to deliver various community projects; most recently, we have been involved in the revival of the Cellardyke Sea Queen Festival, the saving of the Cellardyke Phone Boxes and the publishing of The Cellardyke Echo

Through this work, it became apparent that in order to progress ideas fully and be able to apply for a wider range of funding / grants, we needed to have a more formal structure. Hence, in February 2020, we applied for and obtained charitable status and officially formed The Cellardyke Trust.




Bringing the community together

It is part of our mantra that intergenerational work strengthens families and community. Restoring the Manx Beauty is a huge undertaking and our aim is to involve the whole community from start to finish. In part, we will do this by employing a professional boat builder who, as well as bringing the required craftsmanship to the job, will also provide excellent skill sharing opportunities during the restoration.

And alongside the physical restoration work, we hope to inspire people of all ages and interests through our partnerships with mental health charities and support groups, as well as developing links with all the local schools, and restorative justice. We see this as a way of……...

  • Creating opportunities for practical skills exchange and learning during the restoration - involving secondary school pupils, unemployed individuals, Mens Shed members and volunteers
  • Working with artists and creatives being part of the ongoing story of the boat - helping young musicians develop new skills with professional traditional musicians and tutors, and creating a show round the story; graduate artists and designers developing their work and products; health support groups developing schemes for their members
  • Creating opportunities for local businesses to develop products around this iconic boat, the community and its story
  • Ensuring that the community gets involved thinking about the future, planting trees and creating educational workshops - working with nursery groups, primary schools, secondary school eco groups and partnering with other eco groups in the community

Our Trust already has a great record in community involvement with our Sea Queen Festival, which sees toddlers to 90 year olds taking part. Now we want to build on that community spirit and strengthen intergenerational ties even further.


Why we need your help

We have so many great ideas we want to bring to fruition but they all depend on the successful restoration of a beautiful piece of maritime craftsmanship - and that costs money.

We estimate the complete project will cost in the region of £300,000. We’re currently preparing the background work needed for grant applications to cover a large portion of that but first we need to build up a small fund to enable us to approach major funders. We would also like to show those funders that the community is actively engaged with our project ideas and that is why we need your support.

How you can help us

Every penny contributed will help towards this ambitious but truly amazing project. You can simply donate, or pledge on one of our brilliant rewards (details of which are further down the page).

Please give what you can and please tell everyone you know about our project, to help spread the word far and wide.

The restoration plans

(what we’ll spend the money on)

Work has already started, with the initial phase of stripping out and surveying almost complete. The next phase is stabilisation and preservation of the boat, and some of the money raised through this crowdfunder will go towards that. 

We then plan to construct a steel frame to hold the hull in shape during future restoration. We will also buy a cover to protect the hull from rain and we will treat the timber with a boron-based preservative to prevent further rot.

To oversee and enable all of this, we will employ a boat builder for three years, to bring the Manx Beauty back to life and to make her fit for purpose, MCA certificated and relevant to our community use ambitions mentioned above. 


This is a project for boat lovers and non-boat lovers alike - with immense potential to have a positive and wide reaching impact on the lives of many for years to come.

You can follow our progress on the Manx Beauty Facebook page @cellardykebuilt.

1623586165_21_planet.jpgPlanting for the future

(our eco promise)

A wooden boat is a highly recyclable object. As each piece of wood is removed for restoration, a new eco-friendly replacement is added in.

  • Recycling - in our project we are working with Men’s Shed and others to recycle as much as we possibly can; this will range from very small bits of jewellery to larger pieces for educational purposes 
  • Replanting - we are working with young people and land owners to replant - not just to replace what we use in the restoration, but to ensure that there are significant numbers of trees planted for wooden boat building and restoration in the future. This will ensure a long term interest in the boat, be great for carbon capture and be preparing for further work in 80-90 years time while helping to protect the planet
  • Innovation - we are also partnering with the brilliant Catriona Brown, designer of the Shroom Shelter- an innovative plastic-free alternative for use in tree planting. For every oak tree sponsored through this project (see rewards), Catriona will receive £5 towards production costs of the shroom shelters, which will be trialled with our tree saplings. 

Our inspiration

Of course, none of this would have begun without the inspiration provided by the wonder that is the Manx Beauty. So let us tell you more about her…….

The Manx Beauty is a 50ft wooden ring-net fishing boat that was built on the harbour side (Bulwark) at Cellardyke in Fife in 1937. Within days of her launch she arrived in Peel to take part in the herring fishing from the Isle of Man. 

She has spent her entire working life in the fishing industry and is now a very rare surviving example of a pre-war fishing boat. For the last 50 years, she was owned by the Maddocks, a fishing family of Birkenhead. Then, when the family decided to put her up for sale in late 2019, she was bought on behalf of the Cellardyke Trust and in February 2020, returned to Fife by road. 


Why is the Manx Beauty important?

  • She is a rare surviving example of a 1930s ring-net boat; hundreds were built in Scotland
  • She was ahead of her time in boat design and regarded by all her skippers/ owners as one of the best sea boats they had ever sailed in
  • She served in WW2, requisitioned at Workington on port inspection; a rare surviving example of boats in this service
  • She is a rare example of a Cellardyke built boat, and the imagery of them being built on the harbour is iconic
  • She had a full time female crew member, Sylvia Sharples, from 1975-1987 - a unique example in the fishing industry of the time
  • She was the last Cellardyke built boat to be fishing, she was also one of the last fishing boats to work out of Birkenhead, and can tell the tale of the demise of the UK inshore fishing fleet and fishing communities


A piece of Cellardyke’s history

For the Trust, the history is not just about the physical boat, it's also about the people. It's about the Manx Beauty being a vessel and the stories it contains - what was shared round the table by the crew in all kinds of weather. Who lived and worked it and the families it affected. We have been interviewing and collecting these stories, which you can find, along with a more detailed history of the boat, on our dedicated website page:

Not only was the boat built by locals but the first skippers were also local to the East Neuk - Lockhart Horsburgh from Pittenweem, skippered the Manx Beauty, and Johnny Deas of Cellardyke, who skippered the Manx Fairy.


Family connections

Coull Deas and his sister May, Johnny Deas' son and daughter, are now over 90 and are still great characters and story tellers. They were at the launch - Coull later worked the boat before being called up in WW2, and May went to the Isle of Man with her mother, attended school there and made lifelong friends on the Island.

And it's Johnny's family who feature in our video - his great granddaughter Ellie is our current Sea Queen and talks about her family links. The boat seen sailing into Cellardyke harbour is the Fruitful, Johnny Deas' eldest son's first boat. It has been restored and demonstrates perfectly how lovely an historic vessel of this kind can be actively used. 

It is important that we keep all these links alive so that future generations feel connected to the boat and the community.

The Isle of Man wanted to stimulate skill sharing back in the 1930s, when our young men went to work there with the newly commissioned boats, to teach and share and reinvigorate the Manx fishing industry. 

We will use the boat as a similar tool, not to teach herring fishing, but contemporary skills relevant to our young people in the community today - both in Fife and connecting back with the Isle of Man.

Who's behind the project

The project has widespread support from numerous individuals including folk in Fife, the Isle of Man, Birkenhead and Shetland. 

1621589640_dales_photo.jpgChair: Richard Wemyss. He has extensive experience in organising arts and heritage events having been Curator at the Scottish Fisheries Museum, Head of Operations at Shetland Arts and Organiser of Cellardyke Sea Queen Festival. He also runs the local foodbank where he can see a positive project like this could benefit many people's lives and mental well being.

1621589567_dave.jpgSecretary, and Community Project Developer: Dave Smith is employed by the Coastline Community Church and has many years experience in developing community projects, particularly youth work.

1615388443_davey_tod.jpgTechnical Adviser: David Tod. He has many years experience as a marine engineer and fishing boat skipper. He has built four boats for himself and has owned a marine engineering company. Davie is Vice President of the Scottish Fisheries Museum having been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to Preserving the Heritage of the Scottish Fishing Industry.

1615388482_mike_g.jpgTechnical Adviser: Mike Griffin is a time-served shipwright who trained at James N Miller and Sons at St Monans and worked there building wooden boats. He subsequently worked at Rosyth Dockyard, as Supervisor and, later, Project Lead on submarines and surface vessels.


As a "thank-you" for your support, we are offering a range of rewards, some of which are truly unique. 

1623575642_12_name_on_plank.jpegYou could have your initials inscribed on the hull component (plank, timberhead or frame), or have your name included on a plaque screwed to a bulkhead.

1623604390_22_oak_tree.jpgYou could sponsor an oak tree; this will help with our replanting efforts and also help reduce plastic use in tree planting through our trial of the Shroom Shelter.

Crail Pottery have created some lovely Salt Pigs with our logo embossed on them; available in small or medium, they come paired with salt from the exciting new East Neuk Salt Co.

We are also delighted to be supported by some high profile Shetland and Manx musicians who have pledged a unique reward: for a donation of £200 you can have a traditional tune written and given the name you choose.


Catherine Geldard of "All Things Arbor" in Newcastle has made some delightful pieces of jewellery from oak reclaimed from the Manx Beauty on Sterling silver chains.


Richard Wemyss has donated two original paintings of the Manx Beauty.


1621263104_paper_models.jpgFor a pledge of just £10 we will send you a template for a 3-D paper model of the Manx Beauty and her sister ship, Manx Fairy.

We are very grateful to the many businesses who have offered to support the project by providing rewards at either cost price or at no charge; these businesses are individually acknowledged below and further detail about our rewards supporters can be seen here: -


By supporting us, you’ll be supporting:

Our Heritage -  the Manx Beauty was built on Cellardyke Harbour and is a unique surviving example of this type of vessel in the UK and the boatbuilding industry of the town

Our Community -  rebuilding and post restoration will involve opportunities for local schools, unemployed groups, the Men’s Shed and artists and musicians - to name but a few 

Our Eco Promise - we will replant all the wood we use in the project, with extra planted for carbon capture and future projects

A note from The Cellardyke Trust

We're really excited about this project and although there's a long 1621595820_logo_final_coloured.jpgroad to travel, we're positive about the benefits it will bring to our community and the idea of preserving a very special piece of history. We hope you're able to pledge or donate but even if all you can do is share our project, it is very much appreciated.

We will be posting regular updates on our Facebook page @cellardykebuilt, so please follow us there.

With a big thank you from everyone in The Cellardyke Trust.


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