Tall Ship tourist attraction could be coming to Ipswich Waterfront
- Credit: Archant
Famous training ship, The Lord Nelson, could be making its new home in Ipswich where it would become a major tourist attraction and education centre.
The three-masted tall ship has sailed all round the world from its Southampton base, giving people first-class sail training and life-changing experiences, over the past 33 years.
The Lord Nelson, run by the Jubilee Sailing Trust charity, was the first boat purpose-built and designed to be fully accessible for disabled people.
It is being decommissioned next month following a final training voyage in to Southampton.
The trustees are seeking a new home for the Lord Nelson and Ipswich, with its links with Nelson, is a front runner.
Project manager Andy Spark, of the Jubilee Sailing Trust, said: "Last week I had a meeting with ABP and I was very encouraged by the positivity and the interest. It left me in a warm place.
"Ipswich does seem ideal. There is good footfall and car parking nearby for visitors."
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However, he added: "We have a long way to go before we can make this happen."
The trustees will have to approve the business case for the Lord Nelson to be transformed into a visitor attraction and education base in the new year.
Should the approval be granted, the Lord Nelson would be given a new lease of life.
"The Lord Nelson is a very attractive vessel and we want to change the way it works.
"At sea we have a minimum age of 18 for trainees but I want to work with primary schools and get the Year 6 pupils from every primary school in the area on board, it can be used for STEM subjects."
He said it would also have role within local maritime heritage.
Mr Spark added that they would be looking for the support of local business, organisations and volunteers to get involved, if the move happened.
"This will be essentially for the benefit of the local Ipswich community.
"If the local community and businesses are on board it will be a success.
"I am very hopeful that the future of the ship will be as I have described. I don't know where that will be, it could be Ipswich.
"It has got to be somewhere that lasts for a long time."
ABP is suggesting a permanent mooring at Orwell Quay, close to the university's James Hehir building.