South Wales divers working to preserve the wreck of the world’s only remaining Mk 1 Short Sunderland Flying Boat have secured a replacement engine for their RIB – despite the apparent failure of a Crowdfunder appeal.
The Pembroke Dock Sunderland Trust (PDST) Dive Group launched its fund-raising appeal in late July (Divernet, 4 August), but when it closed a month later, the £3500 raised from 28 generous supporters still fell well short of the £10,000 required.
The BSAC volunteer divers needed the cash to replace a failed outboard engine so that they could carry on as the only team permitted to dive or salvage artefacts from the protected wreck.
“Our first appeal fell short of the mark, but Crowdfunder also has an appeal system where we do actually receive the monies pledged,” David Pring, Chairman of the PDST Dive Group, told Divernet. “We are now looking to raise £1750, of which £550 has already been pledged.”
Better still, the publicity around the appeal had succeeded in raising awareness of the divers’ transport problem.
“Andy Townsend of local company West Wales Yamaha contacted us and offered a pre-owned four-stroke unit, which it has maintained since new but needed some work done. This it did for free, and we will soon be back in action.
“In addition to the pledges we have received, the Milford Haven Port Authority has just donated £500. There really are some kind people out there.”
The Sunderland Flying Boat T9044, which flew in the WW2 Battle of the Atlantic, sank near Milford Haven in 1940. The group’s diving officer Nick Hammond found it in 1998 and the dive group was set up seven years later, buying its RIB in 2011.
The divers have so far recovered two engines, propellers, a machine-gun and other components for restoration and display at Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre, run by the Sunderland Trust.
Working in difficult conditions, they hope to retrieve at least the rear gun turret and one further engine over the next three years.
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