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Harwich Mayflower Project gains worldwide interest

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image copyrightHarwich Mayflower Project
image captionThe first stage of construction is now complete and the charity is about to attach the front of the ship

A quest to build a life-size replica of the ship that took the Pilgrim Fathers to America has attracted worldwide interest, a charity has said.

The Harwich Mayflower Project is on schedule on its plan to complete the build by 2020, when it hopes to recreate the original journey.

The trip is planned to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the famous voyage undertaken by the Mayflower.

Construction is taking place in a yard next to Harwich Town railway station.

The project originally aimed to raise £4m and while unable to say how much has been raised, the trust has been able to start the build from donations received so far.

'Major stepping stone'

Money has been raised through cash pledged online, 200 collection pots around the area and other charity events.

The Harwich Mayflower Project is also just about to launch an appeal in the United States to the 35 million Americans in groups representing the descendants of the original Mayflower passengers.

image copyrightHarwich Mayflower Project
image captionA charity hopes the replica ship will be completed by 2020, so it can recreate the original journey

One of the organisers, Sean Day, said: "We had been getting over 1,000 visitors a week, with people flying in from across the world.

"Even now we are getting around 30 visitors a day."

The first stage of construction is now complete and the charity has also built workshops and a training facility, while a new visitor centre is due to open in the next few months.

"We have laid the keel, which was a major stepping stone, and the stern post is in place. The front of the ship is also ready to go on," he said.

"It has turned into something quite massive."

image copyrightHarwich Mayflower Project
image captionThe project has trained more than 600 young people in engineering and construction so far

The project has trained more than 600 young people in engineering and construction so far, Mr Day said.

It has already received the support of celebrities such as Sir Richard Branson, who called the scheme a "brilliant, audacious project".

Sea trials will take place from 2018, carrying cargo and experienced mariners.

image copyrightHarwich Mayflower Project
image captionA new visitor centre is due to open in the next few months

Related Topics

  • Plymouth
  • Engineering
  • Harwich

More on this story

  • Harwich Mayflower Project: Build completes first stage