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Wednesday, 21 November 2007, 16:59 GMT
Cutty Sark 'needs more funding'


Restoration work on the Cutty Sark is under threat due to a lack of funds, a charity has warned.

The historic tea clipper was a quarter of the way through a £25m conservation project when it was damaged in dry dock in Greenwich exactly six months ago.

The Cutty Sark Trust said more than £20m had been raised but after the fire an extra £9m, on top of the £5m funding gap, was needed to finish the rebuild.

The trust is urging businesses and corporations to donate to the project.

Having survived the terrible fire it will be a cruel twist of fate if the ship should perish through lack of funds
Trust member, Stephen Archer

Work on the 138-year-old vessel was restarted two months ago after it had to be stopped following the fire on 21 May.

Parts from the vessel, including the ship's masts, had been taken apart and moved to Chatham Historic Dockyard in Kent as part of refurbishment and were therefore not affected by the fire.

It was due to reopen to the public in November 2009 but will now take another year to be completed, The Cutty Sark Trust said.

Richard Doughty, chief executive of the trust, said the biggest hurdle was funding the project.

"We will not be able to complete the work unless we raise significant additional funds very soon and we are looking to corporations and businesses to help us," he said.

He added that the public had helped raise nearly £1.2m since the fire but "significant sums" were still needed to complete the work on the ship.

Another Trust member, Stephen Archer, said: "Having survived the terrible fire it will be a cruel twist of fate if the ship should perish through lack of funds."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: "We await final analysis of the equipment on board and surrounding areas (of the vessel) and after this will produce a report with experts into the conclusion of the causes of the fire."

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