Former Toon Chairman Goes All Nautical

24 July 2011 12:51
Former Toon chairman Freddy Shepherd has launched a bid to bring HMS Ark Royal back to Tyneside. The former NUFC chairman wants to create up to 200 jobs by bringing the decommissioned aircraft carrier back to Swan Hunter’s dry dock, in Walker, Newcastle. And if the ‘cradle to grave’ move is successful, Shepherd Offshore hope to employ the sons and grandsons of those who built the ship to take her apart. The Geordie bidders don’t want to see the proud warship turned into a hotel, or conference venue – they say that’s an ungraceful end for a vessel which has served Britain with such honour for three decades. Instead they believe using components from the Ark Royal to create wealth in the now run-down community where she was built, would be the most fitting legacy. Bid bosses have also confirmed they will allow those who originally worked on the building of the Ark Royal to board her one final time. There are also hopes the ship would be opened to the public. Freddy Shepherd: “The Ark Royal was born on Tyneside and we want it to be her final resting place. We want families here to have the benefit of her proud history. “If our bid is successful we aim to create hundreds of jobs and any proceeds from the project will be reinvested in the area to create more employment and wealth for local families in the future. “Over time the Ark Royal could fund thousands of jobs on Tyneside, and inject millions of pounds into the local economy. Surely there would be no legacy more fitting than that. “I’m certain I’m not alone in believing it’s time to bring the Ark Royal home.”