A senior politician pledged his authority’s support to help make Hartlepool’s premier visitor attraction even more successful.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen visited the National Museum of the Royal Navy and went on board HMS Trincomalee, which celebrates its 200th anniversary this year.
Mr Houchen said he would work closely with the museum to raise its profile and support its plans for developing the site.
“I’m really pleased the National Museum of the Royal Navy put their vote of confidence in it and we will work very closely together to utilise what is a fantastic jewel in our crown in the Tees Valley,” said Mr Houchen.
He added: “One thing we need to do much more consistently is join up business, leisure and tourism along the whole of the river, which is vital for the economy, and the National Museum of the Royal Navy will play a key role in that.
“I want to make sure this is all that it can be. It is a fantastic asset as it is but it can be so much more.
“Through the combined authority’s leisure and tourism department there is potential funding support for specific projects, and I would welcome any proposals from the museum.”
Mr Houchen was given a tour of the museum’s stunning centrepiece, HMS Trincomalee, which is celebrating its bicentenary.
Built in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India, in 1817, HMS Trincomalee is currently Britain’s oldest warship still afloat.
Museum general manager Rosalyn Adamson said Mr Houchen’s support was much appreciated.
“Ben’s visit to endorse the combined authority’s support is great and is really helpful to have that.
“HMS Trincomalee will remain the focal point as we develop the site and she is a magnificent one at that.”
Museum curator Clare Hunt said maintenance work is ongoing to preserve HMS Trincomalee for years to come.
And museum fundraising manager Helen Loynes said efforts are ongoing to revamp the ship and other parts of the museum.
She said: “We are currently trying to raise money to upgrade our playship and make it more accessible. We have got lots of different projects we are hoping to work on.”
Events as part of HMS Trincomalee’s bicentenary include a series of lectures delving into her rich history.
The next is on Wednesday, August 23, 1pm titled HMS Trincomalee: Pretty as a Picture.
That will be followed on Friday, September 8, at 6pm – Women on Board; Tuesday, September 19, 1pm – The Soul of HMS Trincomalee; Tuesday, October 3, 6pm – Caring for HMS Trincomalee; Wednesday, October 18, 1pm – Hands on Deck. Tickets cost £5 per lecture. Look out also for a raffle at the museum to win a big family hamper.