The Hartlepool Mail has received its own Christmas present – from grateful bosses on a historic ship who wanted to say thank you for years of support.
In a touching link-up, the newspaper has been presented with a plaque from officials at HMS Trincomalee, inscribed with the message: “The Hartlepool Mail and HMS Trincomalee. Proud to be part of Hartlepool’s past, present and future.”
It will take pride of place on a historic wall which stands close to the ship.
The striking sea-blue gift has silver-coloured words and joins a wall covered with plaques which have been bought by the public – some as birthday gifts or Christmas presents, and some as poignant memorials to loved ones.
And although the wall, which is in the shape of a ship, has been at the Trincomalee for years, it has now been extended to include a vast ocean.
And the Hartlepool Mail’s plaque is one of the first to be placed on the new deep blue sea.
We felt the plaque was appropriate because of the support we have had from the Mail over the years. It is hugely appreciated. The Mail has always stood behind us. It is right and fitting that the Mail is mentionedDavid McKnight, general manager of the HMS Trincomalee Trust
Joy Yates, editorial director of Johnston Press North East, said: “HMS Trincomalee represents everything that we love about Hartlepool. It has history, it has beauty and it is held in great affection by the people of the town.
“We are proud as a paper to have played a part in its success and we hope to continue the successful friendship that has grown between us.”
HMS Trincomalee Trust general manager David McKnight said: “We felt the plaque was appropriate because of the support we have had from the Mail over the years.
“It is hugely appreciated. The Mail has always stood behind us. It is right and fitting that the Mail is mentioned.”
Plaques can be bought for £10 with the proceeds going towards the upkeep of the ship.
They are made of shipbuilding timber and come with a blank area for people to write on their own message.
People from all over the world have bought the mementoes and Mr McKnight added: “There are some lovely stories out there. Some people have married on board the ship and left a plaque. Others leave them as a mark of their visit.
“Sometimes, it is for a memorial or birthday, or even for someone who trained on the ship when she was the training ship Foudroyant.
“We have got about 300 to 400 so far.”
But the wall of plaques has now been extended to include a blue area of sea under the model ship – created by Bob Monsen from the ship’s maintenance crew.
Mr McKnight said it was a good time to do this as Trincomalee is one of the oldest warships afloat in the world.
“It was time for the model to be afloat as well and that was always our intention.
“And the Mail is playing a part in keeping the Trincomalee afloat.”
People can buy their own plaques to put on the wall. To find out more, visit the ship at Jackson Dock, Maritime Avenue, on any day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day.
For more on HMS Trincomalee, visit http://www.hms-trincomalee.co.uk.