WORK to restore a lifeboat to its former glory has been given a £35,000 boost.

The Princess Royal, which saved the lives of 94 people between 1939 and 1968, has undergone extensive restoration over the past three years.

A new grant from the North Hartlepool Partnership - which is using Government money to regenerate North Hartlepool and the Headland - will now be used to help rebuild the boat's engines, deck fittings and navigational equipment.

The work is expected to be completed later this year, when the boat will be given a new lease of life as a floating museum, used for educational tours as well as trips round Hartlepool Bay.

The lifeboat is bidding for a place in the core of the UK's historic fleet and experts at the National Maritime Museum, in Greenwich, London, are studying its record.

Brian Stringer, chairman of the Princess Royal Restoration Association, said: "We are tremendously grateful to the partnership for this grant. It will play a vital part in helping us finish the restoration.

"The work is going very well. The wooden canopy is taking shape around the wheelhouse and we will soon be starting to repaint the boat in her original colours."

The 46ft vessel cost £10,145 in 1938, the equivalent of more than £1m today.

Other partners in the restoration have included local firms Heerema and Clevestone Transport, Hartlepool Borough Council and International Paints.