The Skylark IX Recovery Trust are due to find out on December 4 if their phase 2 application for a grant worth £404,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund has been accepted.

If their application has been successful, the funds will cover the restoration of the Skylark IX boat and enable this to begin in Irvine in January, as well as funding educational aspects of the project and the recording of her history.

It will also cover the cost of a development worker who will take forward the organisation of a small group learning skills and pursuing a City and Guilds qualification, who will go to Irvine twice per week to help restore her and spend the other three days working with a paid woodworking skills tutor based in the Scottish Martime Museum in Dumbarton.

The Trust told the Reporter that they had been told that the children of Christie Park Primary all had their fingers crossed for them at their assembly on Friday and said they were overwhelmed by the support and good wishes from the community ahead of the big decision.

Andy Cochrane, chair of the Trust, said: "I think for anyone who couldn’t physically see Skylark, they may have thought nothing was happening, but the whole team and our wonderful volunteers from Alternatives have all been working away in the background.

"The community near and far have stuck with us, even though it perhaps looked as if nothing was happening. It is that support that has kept us going and if we are successful, our supporters will finally be able to share in the restoration of Skylark, as we hope to set up a system where they can follow the actual work at Irvine

"This is an important project that reaches out to everyone in our community and if we are successful in our bid, we have a great opportunity to reach and work with so many others."

Last week, the project took significant strides forward as the Dumbarton-based Trust revealed they had been awarded £18,000 from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund which will allow them to encourage more veterans to be part of the project and will fund the woodwork rupturing and travel for trainees to go to Irvine twice a week to work on Skylark.

This was a tremendous boost for the project, which has been raising funds to restore her since 2012.

The Skylark IX began life in 1927 in the shipyard of J H Bolson & Sons of Poole in Dorset, the ninth in a series of ten Skylarks. She was one of the ‘little ships’ used in Operation Dynamo — the top-secret rescue operation to save 338,000 Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk following the failed Dunkirk invasion — and saved 600 men.

In 2016, she left Dunbartonshire for the first time since her arrival in the 1970s and moved to the the Scottish Maritime Museum on the Harbourside in Irvine when they offered the Trust their support and partnership.