Ex-sailors give up fight to save HMS Plymouth
FORMER sailors who served on board the veteran warship HMS Plymouth have given up the fight to save her from the scrapyard.
The HMS Plymouth Association says it reluctantly concludes "the end is in sight for our old ship".
Martin Slater of the HMS Plymouth Association has resigned from the HMS Plymouth Trust, which was set up in a last-ditch battle to stop the last surviving warship from the Falklands War being sent to a Turkish breaker's yard.
The trust has been trying to raise £400,000 to buy the ship from its owners, Peel Ports, and turn her into a floating museum and training ship.
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Mr Slater said: "While supporting what the trust is trying to do we can't reasonably see any future because of her age and the cost."
He believed the trust would need to raise another £2.5million to £3million to restore the ship, and then millions more for running costs.
However Captain Richard Tyrell, chairman of the trust, said the fight would go on.
"We are more convinced than ever that HMS Plymouth does have a permanent and more than viable future," he said.
"The support we have had has been tremendous.
"We have a berth, people prepared to help survey her and the offer of a tug to tow her to a permanent berth.
"Money will always be a consideration but people should never underestimate the efforts of volunteers."
Mr Slater said: "I wish them well and hope they can do something. But unless some sort of benefactor comes dashing over the horizon I really can't see it happening.
"They've had trouble raising the £400,000 to buy her from Peel Ports and would need to raise millions more to restore and run her."
In a statement the association said: "We now reluctantly conclude that the end is in sight for our old ship and the time has come to be realistic and admit that there is nothing more which can be done to save her.
"She has very little relevance to today's Navy and would not afford any great understanding to cadets of the technology in use on board a modern warship."
"Whilst wishing the trust well it is with regret that we are unable to offer further support in the on-going attempts to save her.
"HMS Plymouth will for ever be in the hearts and thoughts of those who served on board, and for as long as the association is in being, we will raise a glass to her at our annual reunion."
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 Victoria Dock.