The "devastated" owners of a century-old ferry which was severely damaged by fierce winds have vowed to save the former lifeboat.

The ten-ton, 40ft Harwich Harbour foot ferry was secured at her usual mooring at the Ha'penny Pier when a storm hit on Friday.

Winds wrenched the ferry from her moorings and cast her adrift.

Chris and Lucy Zemann, who took over the Harwich, Shotley and Felixstowe ferry in 2015, said: “We are devastated that this has happened.

"We have started assessing the damage, but it is clear we can’t operate for the rest of the season, which was due to last for another month.

" Although the ferry took on a lot of water and was half submerged, on Saturday morning the harbour authority were able to tow her to a safe haven.

"Previously a lifeboat on the SS Canberra, she didn’t capsize and is still afloat."

The couple said they are determined to resume their ferry operation next season and "save their livelihood."

“We are grateful to the team at Harwich Haven Authority, the RNLI and other members of the wonderful community in Harwich who have already rallied around to support us and offered so much practical help and advice," they added.

“Local reaction to this terrible incident has yet again brought home to us how much the Harwich Harbour Ferry is loved by these communities.

"When we resumed operations after lockdown in mid-May, we were delighted by the demand for trips and happy to be carrying passengers again.

"We were excitedly planning for the future, so the damage caused by the storm has come as a huge blow, but we fight our way back.

“We will post updates on our social media and our website over the coming days.”