Royal yacht cash pledge is 'brilliant news', say project's organisers

 

A pledge by Lord Ashcroft to donate up to £5 million towards a
new royal yacht to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee was described as
"brilliant news" by the project's organisers today.

The former Conservative Party deputy chairman has said he will contribute the seven figure sum to the charitable trust trying to raise £100 million to build a national flagship.

Retired Rear Admiral David Bawtree, who is chairman of the trust, said he hoped the financial gesture would encourage other individuals to come forward.

In a statement on his website Lord Ashcroft said: "The murmurings this week of a privately-financed replacement for Britannia are hugely heartening, even if there is a very long way to go to make this happen.

"But I would like to be one of the first to offer tangible support to the concept, by offering up to £5 million towards the construction costs of a new, effective and flexible royal yacht."

The proposed sailing ship - 650ft long and as tall as St Paul's Cathedral - would provide education and vocational training for young people, facilities for scientific research and a venue for trade missions and commercial exhibitions as well as staterooms for the use of the Royal Family on trips around the United Kingdom and overseas.

Rear Admiral Bawtree said: "I think this is brilliant news for the thousands of young people who are going to benefit from the ship.

"I hope his gesture encourages other individuals and corporate donors to come forward and help us."

He added that he had not been contacted by Lord Ashcroft but looked forward to meeting him in the future.

Lord Ashcroft added that any new royal vessel could be used by other members of the monarchy.

He said: "In addition to the support of the Queen's long-standing and continuing work for Britain and for the Commonwealth, a new royal yacht will underpin the increasingly significant work of his royal highness the Prince of Wales, their royal highnesses Prince William and Prince Harry, and other members of the family.

"A new royal yacht should most certainly be placed at their disposal, and it is right that this should be financed by donations, rather than tax."

The Prime Minister has offered his support to the project and described it in a letter to the Rear Admiral, written in October, as a "splendid idea".

David Cameron's official spokesman said earlier this week the PM would "react favourably" to requests for Government assistance, but believed it would be "inappropriate" for taxpayers' cash to be used on the project.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Games Developer - HTML5

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£26000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Product Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to on-going expansion, this leading provid...

Recruitment Genius: Shift Leaders - Front of House Staff - Full Time and Part Time

£6 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a family ...

Day In a Page

A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
6 best recipe files

6 best recipe files

Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open