Your chance to pay a lasting tribute to Sunderland's maritime past

Fred Gooch.
Fred Gooch.

Want to get involved in Sunderland’s maritime history?

Here’s a great way of doing it.

For £10, people can buy a copper plate which will go on the hull of a ship’s replica.

On it, they can have their name and a short message - plus the knowledge they have contributed to a tenth scale model of HMS Venerable.

The original vessel was a 74-gun ship of the line.

Master model maker Fred Gooch has been tasked with completing the model of Venerable, which has strong links to Wearside.

He explained more about the fundraising scheme.

“It is £10 per plate and each of these plates is about four inches by one and a quarter inches.

“We are talking about having 1,500 of these on each side of the ship.”

The original vessel had copper plating on her hull below the waterline. “The model has got to be the same,” said Fred.

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“We will get the plate etched with a name and fitted to the ship. Also, the name will be registered separately in a ship’s log.”

Because of ageing over time, some of the plates may get verdigris where it turns a green colour and Fred admitted: “You might not be able to see them, or some of the plates will be below the waterline.

“But it will also be registered in the book as well.

“The idea is to raise money to complete the Venerable and help keep Sunderland Maritime Heritage going.

“We are talking about £10 per plate with a name and a short message.”

The first of four ships named Venerable was launched in 1784 and was Admiral Adam Duncan’s flagship at the Battle of Camperdown.

But it was Sunderland man Jack Crawford who climbed the mast and nailed the colours after they were felled.

It earned him hero status and he was presented to the King before being given a Government pension and, later, a silver medal from the people of Sunderland.

The historic occasion is remembered on a statue in Mowbray Park – and now the ship which made him famous is being reproduced in model form.

Venerable is expected to be on display in time for next year’s Tall Ships Races festival in Sunderland.

To find out more about the group, and the project, visit its website at www.sunderlandmaritimeheritage.org.uk
You can also follow the group on Facebook.