Doughty survivor of WW1 could be coming to Yorkshire

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One of only three surviving Royal Navy ships from WW1 could be coming to Hull if the Government agrees a £3m funding bid.

HMS President was towed to Chatham Docks earlier this year after losing its 90-year-old berth on the Thames.

Amid fears the 1918 warship could be scrapped, the charity that owns it says their last resort is Chancellor Philip Hammond agreeing to use funds from the Libor scandal in the Autumn statement for its repair.

Former Chancellor George Osborne changed the law in 2012 to allow hundreds of millions of pounds in fines levied on banks which colluded to fix the interest rate to go to good causes associated with the military and emergency services.

The ship could be towed 200 miles north to get its hull replated at MMS Ship Repair on Hull Docks, if the bid is successful and the city could also end up its permanent home, the charity said yesterday.

The charity, HMS President Trust, is also considering berths in central London and Portsmouth - but said what they cared about most was that the ship escaped the scrapyard.

Director Paul Williams said: “HMS President will be coming up for its refurbishment at MMS Ship Repair on Hull Docks, subject to getting the Libor grant. This year they are giving to military-related charities.”

Hull is also being considered as a permanent location, along with Portsmouth and central London, after a major donor - from whom they are asking an additional £500,000 towards the total £3.5 bill - suggested the ship should go outside London.

Mr Williams said: “The donor would be very supportive of moving the ship to Hull. The trustees are considering that as an option. They need to talk to the city council about berths and regarding planning permission.”

The charity had hoped to get funding from the National Lottery but were bitterly disappointed when their bid was turned down. They are now urging the public to help ramp up the pressure to save HMS President from the scrapyard by signing an online petition. It states: “The charity’s last resort is an appeal and application to The Treasury for Government funding and it is hoped that our new Chancellor, Philip Hammond who was previously Defence Secretary and aware of the importance of The President to the nation and military, will now step in and save her.” Just under 4,000 people have signed so far at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/163742.