ONE of Grays’ major landmarks has been removed and preserved.

The mast of the wrecked Gull lightship at the Grays riverside was removed this week.

Thurrock Council’s Cabinet member for Leisure and Culture, Councillor Joy Redsell, said: “I have been concerned about the mast for many years.

“Civil contingency planners agreed it was hazardous and the Port of London Authority also said that, although it wasn’t of concern to river traffic it was potentially hazardous to beach pedestrians.”

She added: “We are planning to have the mast properly preserved and placed somewhere in Grays so it will become a permanent piece of our history.

“We are looking at getting it lit with solar-powered lights.

“After years of trying to protect the ship it is very moving for me to see the mast go, but equally moving to know it will be preserved for everyone.”

The history of the lightship dates back to around 1860 and it is number 38 on the Trinity House Ancient List, thought to be the second oldest surviving lightship in the world.

After serving at many places from Humberside to the Goodwin Sands, the lightship was rammed and sunk on March 18 1929 by the City of York, resulting in the death of Captain Williams of the lightship.

It was repaired and re-fitted before being withdrawn from service and moored at Gorleston.

In 1947 it was bought for £750 by Thurrock Yacht Club, and towed to Grays to become the club’s headuarters.

It was last used as a clubhouse in 1971.

The Gull was then abandoned and now suffers from regular acts of vandalism and degradation through river action.