UNRECOGNISABLE as the derelict hulk she appeared when she was towed up-river seven months ago, the old Dart paddle steamer Compton Castle began her new life as Truro s first floating restaurant at the weekend.

The astonishing transformation which has taken place internally, as well as externally, was something of an eye-opener for those who attended the formal opening -or should it be launching? -last week.

Certainly no-one would take issue with Mr. Ron Morrison-Smith, director of the Westcountry Tourist Board, who described it as "a fabulous reconstruction".

The Tourist Board believe that the Compton Castle, in her new role, will prove a big hit with holidaynakers which is why they have backed the project with hard cash. Their final cheque - for £2,800- was handed over at last week's reception.

For Mr. David Worlledge whose father, John is chairman of Lark Developments, the "rescue" of the Compton Castle and her refurbishment as a floating restaurant is the realisation of a dream - one which has cost something like £170,000.

The venture has met with considerable scepticism in various quarters, but what can scarcely be argued is that the Compton Castle provides additional interest to the Truro scene

Jim Blazeby

Away it went and the next time I saw it was when I went and had tea on it in Truro. The harbour master at Truro was a great friend of mine, John Whitehouse.

Truro Harbour is above Malpas and the authority comes under Carrick District Council. John rang me and said 'I've got bloomin' Compton Castle coming'.

He said, 'Sometime when you come to Truro we'll go on her for tea'. And we did.

We had a laugh about it with whoever was running the tea room then. They'd painted it up very nicely considering the awful state it was in.