Gary scoops Tall Ships Race slot thanks to Fans Museum

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Gary Dunmore is all at sea - or will be.

Fans Museum founder Founder Michael Ganley teamed up with lifelong friend Tim Finley, who owns TF Shipping Ltd, at Boldon Business Park, to offer one lucky winner a place on board one of the ships on the first leg of the race from Sunderland to Esbjerg in Denmark

Michael Ganley (left) and Tim Finley

Michael Ganley (left) and Tim Finley

Gary's name was announced by Sunderland's leading post-war goalscoror Kevin Phillips in a video posted-on-line.

"I am a bit shocked," said Gary, who runs .

"When Kevin Phillips read my name out, I just thought it was a wind-up."

Now Gary, 49, from Roker, is looking forward to finding out more about his once-in a lifetime opportunity.

Gary Dunmore

Gary Dunmore

"I saw the Tall Ships when they came in 1986 and I was really impressed," he said.

"I am just looking forward to a whole new experience and finding out out about sailing and how the ship works."

The Tall Ships will be in Sunderland from Wednesday to Saturday, July 11-14.

"It is a month before my 50th birthday so it is a nice early birthday present to myself," said Gary.

Michael Ganley said he had been amazed and delighted by the response to the competition.

"It has been really good," he said.

"Looking through the entries, they go from just 14 to the age of 86, and it has not just gone regional but national.

"We had had entries from Hertfordshire and Portsmouth, which is brilliant, and it has really raised the profile of the museum on social media."

Entrants had to answer three questions yo be in with a change of winning a place in the race, which Michael said he ad been a deliberate choice to ensure the spot went to someone who really wanted it.

"We didn't want to just do it as a prize draw," he said.

"We wanted to make sure people had to put a little bit of effort in, to do some research."