Museum chiefs are getting ready for the arrival of a Second World War rescue ship as part of a £1million investment programme.
Rescue Motor Launch (RML) 497, which rescued downed airman from the sea and is one of the last surviving types of her class, is due to arrive at the National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool soon.
As reported by the Mail last month, she will be barged approximately 400 nautical miles up the coast from her current berth on Southampton Water to Hartlepool where she will be carefully craned into place and a temporary building.
Final preparations for her arrival are about to get underway at the museum off Marina Way.
Her relocation is in anticipation of a conservation programme to get her on permanent display telling the rich naval story of the coastal forces in the North Sea.
Weather permitting, it is hoped RML 497 will arrive in Hartlepool in time for an official launch event on Monday, January 28.
Roslyn Adamson, general manager of The National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool, said: “She is an amazing survivor, full of original features, which is incredible for a wooden warship built for service during the Second World War.
“Her arrival will be a real spectacle and we can’t wait to welcome her on site.
“We are thrilled to have her here and are formulating exciting plans to get her conserved and put on display.
“There is a really strong story about coastal forces in the North East that can be told through her.”
The Tees Valley Combined Authority has given the museum a grant of £499,250 towards the project which combined with investment by the museum forms part of a larger £1.1 million regeneration project.
Weighing 70-tonnes the 112-feet RML 497 was one of the first mass-produced vessels of the war which were built at small boatyards around the UK.
She was acquired by the Portsmouth-based navy museum in 2015.
Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher said: “We’ve worked hard alongside colleagues at the Tees Valley Combined Authority to secure funding for the move and we really can’t wait to see RML 497 in Hartlepool.
“She has a strong connection to the North Sea and her story is fit to be told at The National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool.
“Securing the arrival of the National Museum in Hartlepool in 2016 ensured the town has a visitor destination of national significance and I believe adding RML 497 to the collection is a real sign of intent for the future.”