THOUSANDS of pounds are needed to rescue a century-old boat so that it can be brought to Sunderland’s seafront and renovated.
Maritime enthusiasts say the restoration of the 1908 yacht Señora could give unemployed people on Wearside the opportunity to train in boat building and carpentry skills.
But unless the Senora Trust can raise £10,000 by the end of this month, she will be chopped up for firewood, as the boat yard where she is stored can no longer afford to keep her.
The trust is aiming to raise this initial sum to buy her and transport her to Sunderland so that restoration can begin and are looking for donations, support and investment in the project - designed to create training opportunities, jobs and prosperity on Wearside.
After restoration, they say the vessel would be available for charter and teaching sailing skills to aspiring sailors of all ages and all backgrounds.
It is hoped that previously unemployed people would help to rebuild the boat building industry that Sunderland was once famed for.
The 50ft larch and oak Señora was designed by the renowned marine architect Alfred Mylne and built on the Isle of Bute, in Scotland.
It is hoped that by bringing the boat to Wearside, interest in the 2018 Tall Ships event, which Sunderland won the bid to host last year, will be given a further boost.
Kim Simpson, from the Señora Trust, said: “The opportunity is now, and it’s a one-off. Señora is unique, a classic beauty from a former age.
“To rescue her will be both a privilege, and chance to be part of the city’s vital work of economic and social regeneration.
“At a time when jobs and training are badly needed on Wearside, she will be bringing skills and employment, and with them dignity and prosperity to the people of Sunderland.”
Dr Mark Bagott, also part of the trust, said: “We are urgently looking for partnership money and local financial support to make our dream of Señora as a hub for community and economic regeneration come true.
“This would be a fantastic boost to Sunderland’s waterfront and civic pride.
“We want people to get behind the Señora project and make it happen.”
With a deadline of March 31 before the Señora will be broken up, the trust is calling on the public, the sailing community and businesses to help support and fund the Señora’s acquisition and restoration.
Those wanting to contact the Senora Trust to offer support should email firstname.lastname@example.org.