ORGANISERS are celebrating after a boat auction raised almost £2,000 for a hat-trick of charities.

The Blackwater Marina auction, in Maylandsea, raised a huge total of £1,949 for the West Mersea RNLI, Maldon Sea Cadets and Gain – a charity for people who suffer from a rare viral condition called Guilain-Barré syndrome.

The condition affects the nerves in the feet, hands and limbs, causing problems such as numbness, weakness and pain.

The auction gave the opportunity for new and former boat owners to give vessels a new lease of life on the water.

Around 25 boats, many of them take in lieu of debt or which were abandoned, were given new homes at the event.

Blackwater Marina manager Rebecca Polden said: “The boats weren’t doing anyone any good and we wanted to give people on a modest budget the chance to get on the water and put something back into causes close to our heart.”

Each charity represented at the event received a cheque for around £650.

Maldon mayor Jeanette Stilts, mayor of presented the cheques to each of the three charities on Maldon’s Hythe Quay.

Dave Selby, who helped organise the auction, said he was very happy with how the event went, adding: “It doesn’t end here.”

He said: “Many of the buyers were first-time boat owners who had never before dreamed they would own a boat.

“Some have never been on the water.

“Along with Blackwater Marina we’re helping to make sure they get on the water safely.”

Among the boats sold on the day included a 100-year-old Thames tugboat which was bought for £1,000 by a tugboat trust.

Jay Zimrul, 41, a taxi company owner from Maldon, bought his first boat at the auction – a 17ft sailing boat for just £300.

He said: “We’d been thinking of getting a boat for two to three years, but didn’t have the courage.

“The boats we were looking at all cost between two and three thousand pounds.”

Other residents also came away with boats which will be sailed for years to come.

Boats still available are listed at