The Southend Pier Waverley river is back for this autumn

VERY popular river cruises from the pier along the Thames are set to return this autumn.

The vessel is the largest seagoing paddle steamer in the world and voyages will be available from Southend between September 23 and October 9.

Elected officials and business owners have hailed the return of pleasure cruises from the city’s world-famous pier.

Carole Mulroney, Lib Dem’s environment, culture and tourism adviser, said: ‘Obviously in recent years wonderful events like this have not happened.

“It’s really great to see the shop coming back and the trips are incredibly popular and the boat is beautiful to see. It’s great to have them back and use the pier.

“People love river cruises and I’ve done it before and it’s a real treat. There is so much to see and I really hope everyone takes full advantage of it.

“Boats like this came to the dock very frequently and it was a big hay day for them. People love the quiet afternoon.

The announcement comes after the Dutch schooner Eendracht made an aerial visit to Southend, spending the night moored at the town’s legendary pier last week.

The three-masted ship from the Netherlands, built in 1989, is world famous and used to train sailors around the world.

Paul Thompson, owner of Pebbles One Café on the waterfront, also welcomed the return of river cruises from the pier.

He said: “I think it’s great to see the pier used by boats like this, trips have always been so popular.

“I think it’s very positive and it’s something different to do with the family. I think it will be as popular as before, it’s a good idea for Southend.

For years, in September and October, the Waverley has regularly traveled up and down the Thames.

The Waverley was launched in 1946 with her maiden voyage in 1947, to replace her 1899 predecessor, sunk by German aircraft in the English Channel during the Dunkirk evacuation. About 400 lives were lost, including most of the crew

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