More than 200 back the historic RRS Discovery as it reaches its £40,000 goal
In a campaign that has spread worldwide and gained the backing of everyone from schoolchildren to global businesses, a newborn baby to a television celebrity, the historic RRS Discovery ship today reached its crowdfunding goal.
More than 200 backers came together to push the ship’s goal past its £40,000 target. And after a nailbiting last 24 hours, supporters gathered at Discovery Point in Dundee to celebrate at the ship, which is open again to visitors after a few weeks of closure.
Dundee Heritage Trust, which operates the iconic Antarctic exploration ship – now an award-winning visitor attraction in Dundee – received pledges big and small, from individuals and businesses both locally and worldwide. Backing came from everyone from a newborn baby and pupils at a Dundee primary school, to TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, a patron of Dundee Heritage Trust.
Dundee Heritage Trust launched the campaign to raise £40,000 five weeks ago on crowdfunder.co.uk to pay for vital restoration and preservation work to the masts and rigging of RRS Discovery, which famously took Captain Robert Falcon Scott and crew to the Antarctic for a voyage of scientific exploration.
In a bold move, the Trust made a call out to the public to contribute towards a nine-month cleaning and repair project to the rigging and masts which will cost £350,000 in total. During a painstaking three-week process in which passers-by witnessed the ship gradually being deconstructed, the masts and rigging were removed and have been sent to a specialist shipbuilders in Gloucester for repair.
Paul Jennings, executive director of Dundee Heritage Trust, acknowledged that putting Discovery’s fate in the hands of the public was risky. But he said he was always sure of the support of the iconic ship, which returned to Dundee – the city where it was built – in 1986.
Paul Jennings said:
“On behalf of Dundee Heritage Trust I would like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone who pledged money, both in Dundee and further afield. The support we’ve had has been amazing. Not only does it enable us to carry out this important restoration work on the ship, but it proves how dear RRS Discovery is to people, particularly in her home city.”
Lorraine Kelly, who fronted the crowdfunding campaign five weeks ago with a video appeal, said:
“It’s been so gratifying to see people get behind this campaign to help preserve one of the country’s, and in particular Dundee’s, most important visitor attractions. It was a pleasure to front this crowdfunding effort and to see the public and businesses really step up to help. A huge thanks to everyone involved.”