A NEW job has been created – to help preserve a piece of Hartlepool history.
Freemasons have helped to fund the post of an apprentice shipwright for HMS Trincomalee.
In a link that started 13 months ago, the Hartlepool Masonic Lodges, the Durham Provincial Benevolent Association and the HMS Trincomalee Trust got together to create a job with a real difference.
Hartlepool Freemason Mike Lister said there were three reasons why the idea was so appealing.
He said: “Firstly, it would provide a worthwhile job for a local youngster in an area of high unemployment. Secondly, it would help to preserve skills which could be easily lost. Finally, it would help to support a superb local charitable trust and, in some small measure, help preserve the HMS Trincomalee for posterity.”
The link-up was marked when the Hartlepool Freemasons, together with Provincial colleagues, presented HMS Trincomalee Trust with a cheque for £2500 as the first instalment from the Freemasons towards the costs of the project.
Trust chairman John Megson said: “The conservation, maintenance and presentation of HMS Trincomalee is a time consuming, complicated and expensive business.
“This generous Masonic support will allow us to continue our apprentice programme and so keep the vital skills alive that we need for our work – something we would otherwise have been unable to do.”
HMS Trincomalee, which is based at the Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience, is a tourist attraction of international renown.
She is in the core collection of the National Register of Historic Vessels in the United Kingdom, and is part of the heritage fleet of the National Museum of the Royal Navy because of her importance to the maritime heritage of this country. She has the proud claim of being the oldest British warship still afloat.
Built in Bombay, India in 1817, the Trincomalee was brought to Hartlepool in 1987, where it took more than ten years to restore the ship to her former glory.
She is also a multi-award winner. Her honours include the World Ship Trust International Maritime Heritage Award, 2001; and the North East England Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, 2009.