UK Charity has raised MWK250m to renovate Chauncy Maples

  • Date: 14/10/2010

Built in Glasgow in 1899, Chauncy Maples will become a floating clinic serving the health needs of villagers living around the shores of Lake Malawi
Believed to be the oldest ship still afloat in Africa, the 38m long motor ship MV Chauncy Maples is to be renovated as a floating clinic to bring primary health care to people living around Lake Malawi.
The UK-based charity Chauncy Maples Malawi Trust has announced that it has raised half of the MWK500,000,000 needed to refit the ship. Work started two weeks ago in Monkey Bay and will take about 18 months. When Chauncy Maples is launched in early 2012, she will go to the most remote villages on the lake.
The ship is owned by the Malawian Ministry of Health, which has allocated MWK50,000,000 to the project.
“This is a golden project,’ said Patrick Zimpita of the Ministry of Health. “Chauncy Maples will go a long way in improving the lives of these people, During the rainy season there is a high prevalence of malaria. Immunisation coverage is very low because it is expensive, or even impossible, for a mother to take her children to the nearest clinic. It might be only a mile away but with a mountain on one side, and the deep and stormy lake on the other, it’s not a simple journey. The demand for this service is huge - it will be several decades before roads will reach these sea-locked villages.”
The announcement that the Chauncy Maples Malawi Trust has raised MWK250,000,000 (£1million)  was made on Tuesday night at a function hosted by Manica Malawi at the Mulika Club in Blantyre. It was attended by 50 people from local businesses and the medical profession.
The project has received major support from Thomas Miller, a London-based insurance company, which has chosen to make the renovation of Chauncy Maples the focal point of its 125th anniversary celebrations. Three quarters of the money raised by the charity has been provided by Thomas Miller and its community (clients, suppliers and employees). 
Janie Hampton, the charity’s Founder and Director said: "Chauncy Maples is an important health project, and also a piece of Malawi’s heritage. Although she is the oldest ship in Africa, the hull is still strong. People all over the world are excited about participating in this project.
“This wonderful ship will become an icon for Malawi both at home and abroad.”
Mark Holford, Thomas Miller’s Marketing Director explained how the funds were already being put to good use:  “Work has commenced in Malawi in stripping out the ship in preparation for major hull work in a dry dock in October.  Our next step is to persuade the world's maritime manufacturers to donate the MWK200,00,000 worth of parts necessary for the renovation work.”
Chauncy Maples was built in Glasgow in 1898 for British missionaries working in Central Africa and was named after the Bishop of Nyasaland who drowned in a storm on Lake Malawi. Shipped to Mozambique in 3,481 small parts plus an 11 ton boiler mounted on wheels, the vessel components were carried overland by Ngoni people to the lakeside at Mponda’s where the ship was re-assembled.
Chauncy Maples began as a clinic and then served as a gunboat, a trawler and even a refuge from Arab slave traders. Since 1992 she has been laid up in Monkey Bay and has been serving as a public bar, a far cry from what is now envisaged for her future.
The Chauncy Maples project on Lake Malawi combines health service delivery; preservation of Africa’s marine heritage and training for local apprentices.
Note to editors
The Chauncy Maples Malawi Trust was founded in 2009 by Janie Hampton from Britain. The charity is based in Oxford where Bishop Chauncy Maples  was at University and served as a priest before working in Eastern Africa as a missionary. For further information on the Chauncy Maples Malawi Trust, see or phone Janie Hampton 0991279442 (Malawi cell) until 23-10-10. After that +44 1865 395857
Established in 1885 Thomas Miller is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. A global leader in the management of insurance businesses, it provides insurance services to approximately 50% of the world’s shipowners as well as insuring 80% of the world’s containers. For further information on Thomas Miller see Contact Mark Holford: + 447802 222451 or

Latest Tweets

Follow us on Twitter