An important step forward in the planned refit of Reaper, the Museum’s 1903 Fifie Herring Drifter, was made on Friday 5th August 2017 when Fiona Hyslop MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs came aboard Reaper to announce that the Scottish Government have awarded the Museum a grant of £500,000 to enable the refit of the boat to go ahead.
As she rang the ship’s bell to announce the award Fiona Hyslop said “Reaper is an important example of our maritime history as well as the flagship of the Scottish Fisheries Museum’s seagoing fleet. Over the years it has brought to life Scotland’s fishing heritage for thousands of tourists from home and abroad, as well as becoming a key asset as part of the Museum’s excellent educational outreach work. This funding will allow thousands more people to enjoy this excellent illustration of our fishing tradition and I’m delighted to announce it in our Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.”
David Corner, the Chair of the Museum’s Trustees, welcomed the Scottish Government’s generous support for the Museum and for Reaper. In thanking Fiona Hyslop he said “This boat is what makes our museum very special, as she is a flagship not only for the museum, but also for Fife and Scotland. My thanks again to the Scottish Government for helping us to maintain and actively promote such an important and iconic part of our rich national heritage, a boat that is also more widely recognised as a core vessel in the UK’s National Historic Fleet”.
Joan Paton, Chair of the Museum’s Boats Club, whose volunteer members maintain and crew Reaper, thanked Fiona Hyslop for coming along to meet the Club which later entertained the Cabinet Secretary to lunch. Joan said that it was also important to give thanks for the amazing generosity of people, schools and organisations in helping to raise funds to get the boat ready for its refit, which would be the most comprehensive since it was built at Sandhaven in 1903.
The museum’s Refit Progress Group is now in the final stages of confirming the scope and nature of the refit, the work schedule and the financial details of a refit contract, and it hopes to announce the completion of this very shortly. Meanwhile, Reaper will be at her home berth in Anstruther until late October when the refit is planned to begin, and will be open for visitors on selected days over the summer.