Campaign to rescue HMS Plymouth stalls as trust 'falls apart'
THE trust set up to try to save the warship HMS Plymouth appeared to be falling apart this week.
Chris Swift, head of the HMS Plymouth Trust media operation, quit earlier this year.
And Penelope Brudenell-Pryke, a trust director, told The Herald she too was on the verge of leaving.
But HMS Plymouth – the last surviving warship to be involved in the Falklands War 30 years ago – remains at her Birkenhead berth, in spite of moves to send her to the breaker's yard.
Attempts by The Herald to contact Capt Richard Tyrell, the trust's founder, and Laurence Sharpe-Stevens, another director, failed. Neither man returned our emails.
Ms Brudenell-Pryke told The Herald she was on the verge of leaving the trust last week.
She said she was very disappointed with the poor communication with organisations outside the trust.
"There was a lot of negativity from people who refused to be involved with the trust and it has just hampered progress," she said, refusing to elaborate.
Last October veterans dealt a blow to the campaign when the HMS Plymouth Association pulled out of the trust.
The association said it reluctantly concluded that "the end is in sight for our old ship", and its representative, Martin Slater, resigned from the trust.
The trust was set up to raise £400,000 to buy the ship from its owners, Peel Ports, and turn her into a floating museum and training ship.
It was believed that HMS Plymouth had been sold to a Turkish ship breaker and would leave for the Mediterranean at the end of September last year.
The deadline came and went with no sign of movement.
Last week a dock spokesman from Birkenhead told The Herald that HMS Plymouth was still at her berth at Vittoria Dock. He had no information about any likely new developments.
The frigate was built in Devonport in 1959. When she was first decommissioned in 1988 Lord Owen, the former Devonport MP, and a group of volunteers fought to keep her in Plymouth.
She finally ended up in Birkenhead where, in a joint partnership between the Warship Preservation Trust and Wirral Borough Council she was opened to the public in May 1992. The trust went into voluntary liquidation and the ships were closed to visitors in 2006. HMS Plymouth was closed up and left to deteriorate at Vittoria Dock.
Comment – Page 11