A MALDON-based barge has a starring role in a blockbuster movie about the evacuation of Dunkirk during the Second World War.

Thames barge Xylonite, which is moored at Hythe Quay, spent two weeks filming for epic Dunkirk last summer.

A scene featuring soldiers climbing onto the barge appeared in a trailer released in December.

Released today, film, directed by the Christopher Nolan, of The Dark Knight and Inception fame, opens as hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops are surrounded by Nazi forces.

Xylonite was bought by Tim Kent nearly six years ago.

Tim, skipper Adrian Mulville and two crew members sailed across to Dunkirk in June for two weeks of filming.

The duo dressed up in 1940s attire before the barge took part in a number of scenes.

Tim said: “Back in May or April I had a call from a film production company asking if we would be interested in being involved in this film.

“The shot of the side with all the soldiers getting on the boat is on the trailer. But they also filmed that from the front as well. They had us performing all kinds of manoeuvres and the weather was pretty awful and it was very windy a lot of the time but we had a very skilled crew.

“It was a really exciting couple of weeks seeing the process of filming.

“I’ve owned the boat for five and a half years now and I have always wanted to be involved in filming.”

Tim does not know how prominently Xylonite will feature in the film when it is released in July next year, but hopes it will be a stepping stone.

He added: “The Xylonite is 90 years old this year – she was built in 1926 – and this was something really special to do this year.

“A lot of people here have a soft spot for the barges and they know the Xylonite as it is such an unusual name.

“I am hoping next year we will get more chances and use anything towards paying for the upkeep of the barge.”

Click here.