Just days before the 65th anniversary of the launch of the Severn Princess ferry, the charity, Severn Princess Preservation Trust (SPPT) have sent out an SOS.

Trustees are concerned about plans submitted to Monmouthshire County Council to build a number of flats very close to the Princess, as well as a road and public footpath.

They say there has been no provision or discussion with them on how the ferry might be protected.

They even found large blue Xs marked across the section of the riverbank on which the Princess sits in recent days. They say these indicate the proposed route of a path and some of these Xs are underneath the hull.

They say that since housing construction started in the area, the Princess has already been subjected to vandalism and theft of irreplaceable parts of the original structure.

MV Princess is listed on the UK Historic Ships Register and so is of national significance to maritime history.

Other notable ships on the Register include the Cutty Sark and HMS Victory The Princess and her counterparts, Severn King and Queen, had many notable passengers such as royalty, Bob Dylan, the Beatles and Lloyd George.

The Severn Princess is the last remaining ferry from the days when vehicles and passengers were transported across the river, before the Severn Bridge was opened in September 1966.

When the bridge opened, MV Severn Princess went to Ireland and was eventually abandoned and found washed up and in a dreadful state.

Locals Tim Ryan and Richard Jones (grandson of Enoch Williams who owned and ran the ferries), set out on a perilous rescue mission to bring her back to Chepstow in 1999.

Since then, she has resided on the riverbank in Chepstow, back where she was originally moored up when in service.

Volunteers have been working tirelessly to preserve her and have given almost 800 talks so far to the public on her history. She was recently featured in ITV’s Vanished Wales, as a rare example of Welsh history which can still be seen today.

Trustee Dr Sue Kingdom said: "We are very concerned that no one is talking to us about the protection of the Princess. Not only that, we are very concerned about the potential for further vandalism and damage. We understand the need for housing but the Princess is of enormous historical importance, not just to the area but nationally too. She deserves better than this.”