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Lady Florence River Cruise Restaurant

Lady Florence River Cruise Restaurant

Craig Ambury and John Haresnape have been successfully operating a unique fine-dining, river cruise experience from two quite different locations, Orford Quay in Suffolk and Durban harbour, South Africa. They have owned the business in Suffolk for 21 years and Durban for 10 years, splitting their time between the 2 countries. However, the cost of running and maintaining two subsets of the business in two completely different places of the world was very high. This, coupled with the need for John to start thinking about semi retirement, meant that the family made the difficult decision to relocate the South African part of the business to Suffolk, with the vessel “The Lady Florence” continuing to operate from Orford and the South African vessel “The Allen Gardiner” operating a new service from Ipswich Marina.

This relocation meant funds were needed to build a special cradle and ship the Allen Gardiner vessel as deck cargo to Ipswich Marina, a project that would take in the region of 3 months. Craig and John initially applied for funds to cover this cost from their bank but were declined due in part to the risky nature of the proposition and lack of suitable history of Craig and the Allen Gardiner in the UK.  In order to obtain another form of affordable credit, Craig and John completed an internet search and found Foundation East’s loan product for small businesses.

Business Loans Manager Valerie Jarrett was delighted to help Craig and John with the funding they needed as they have a good viable business that will create jobs in the town for the long term.

The dining experience on the Allen Gardiner will differ slightly to the Lady Florence in that it will be able to accommodate larger parties and take cruises on the River Orwell both day and night.