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Suitable tribute

26 September 2018

Organisers of a campaign to construct a Merchant Navy monument in the city of Plymouth are appealing to Nautilus members for support…

Nautilus members are being encouraged to contribute to an appeal to fund the costs of a new Merchant Navy monument in the city of Plymouth.

Organisers of the appeal have already secured a substantial part of the target figure – and they are seeking to make ‘one last big push’ to secure all the money needed to erect the memorial on Plymouth Hoe.

It is hoped that the monument – which will feature a statue of a seafarer on a granite plinth – can be unveiled on 3 September 2019 to coincide with Merchant Navy Day and the 80th anniversary of the sinking of the merchant ship Athenia, with the loss of 117 lives, in the first action of the second world war.

The campaign was launched a few years ago in response to concerns that Plymouth – which has a long and deep maritime history – has only a small and hard to locate plaque to acknowledge the sacrifi ces made by members of the ‘fourth arm’ of the nation’s defences.

The monument will be sited alongside similar memorials honouring those who served in the Army, Navy and Air Force and will be dedicated to all those who serve, or have served, in the British Merchant Navy or fishing fleet in times of both peace and war.

‘We want to see that merchant seafarers are properly recognised for their contribution – not just in war but also to the prosperity of the nation and supporting our daily lives,’ says Michael Everard, a former shipowner who is leading the national fundraising efforts.

‘The general public are often very unaware of the importance of seafarers to society and this monument will be in a fantastic location on Plymouth Hoe, where it will be seen by thousands of tourists every year,’ he adds, ‘and there will be a plaque on the monument which will emphasise how essential ships and seafarers are to the country.’

‘The appeal has been very successful so far,’ Mr Everard says. ‘We are trying to raise £160,000 and have virtually hit the £140,000 mark already. There has been terrific support locally, and because of my strong links to Plymouth I have got involved in taking the appeal to national level.’

It is expected that the total project cost will run to more than £200,000 – which will include design and planning work, the casting of the statue, and the erection and maintenance of the monument. A crowd-funding initiative staged at the end of 2017 proved extremely successful in raising more than £31,000 within 70 days and now Nautilus members are being invited to support a new drive to pass the next fundraising milestone.

‘This is a great opportunity to contribute to a very visible tribute to the Merchant Navy and merchant seafarers,’ Mr Everard points out. ‘Britain couldn’t do anything without its seafarers, and this appeal will make sure that there is a lasting message in an iconic location.’

Anyone wanting to donate to the appeal can do so via the Plymouth Merchant Navy Monument Fund website.

Britain couldn’t do anything without its seafarers, and this appeal will make sure that there is a lasting message in an iconic location
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