Businesses get on board to help bring Viola back to Hull

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 27 Feb 2017

The team behind a plan to bring an historic steam trawler to her home port of Hull are targeting their regional and international businesses contacts to meet the estimated cost of £1.75m.

The Viola Trust, which is leading the project, has already received some cash and in-kind support from maritime companies and other sectors and is now stepping up its fundraising campaign.

Paul Escreet, chairman of the trustees, will seek donations from maritime contacts around the world, reflecting the global significance of a vessel which has served owners in the UK, Norway, Africa and Argentina.

He said: "We're looking at a very big financial target but the Viola has a very big history internationally and we hope that will strike a chord with our contacts in the global shipping industry.

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"I'll be asking my contacts to make a donation and to also pass details of the campaign to their contacts. "That cascade approach should enable us to reach a lot of people in a short amount of time, and that's vital if we are to bring the Viola back before her condition deteriorates."

A survey by Solis Marine Consultants has established that the Viola is in good enough condition to be moved from her current location on a beach in Grytviken Harbour, South Georgia.

The Trust has now put together a fundraising plan and launched a Viola Trawler website for the project, telling the story of the Viola and setting out the vision of developing her as a tourist attraction and as a training facility for a new generation of engineers.

The site also features a fundraising link with supporters able to make general donations, however small, or specify particular items and areas on the vessel.

A pledge of £500 will buy a bucket of rivets, and there are other levels right up to £50,000 for Captain's Circle supporters.

The site was designed and built by Hull-based Genesis IT and other backing for the Trust has ranged from ABP providing quayside space for renovation of the Viola to donations from key contacts of the trustees.

Luke Pykett, marketing director of Genesis, said: "We are very excited to be able to get involved in the Viola project. The story behind the trawler is extremely fascinating and, with Hull being City Of Culture for 2017, there's no better time to be on board with the venture."

Simon Coghlan, managing director of Immingham-based shipping agency Graypen Group, said: "We are extremely pleased to become a sponsor in the Viola Trust Project. "Graypen and GP Shipping evolved from humble origins in the Humber Estuary and we therefore felt it very important to help and play our part in bringing the Viola back to its rightful home."

Tim Gilbert, director of Everard Insurance Brokers, which is backing the project, said: "We have traded independently since the 1960s and we specialise in marine and related general trades insurance.

"Our areas of expertise are even more varied than those of the Viola and include the fishing and military sectors in which she excelled.

"We are therefore pleased to support and be associated with such a historic maritime project and to help bring her back to Hull."

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