Portsmouth Warships' Olympic Donation

Pieces of wood taken from the historic warships HMS Victory and HMS Warrior have been presented to an arts project to create a sailing boat to mark next year's Olympics.

The boat, which will be sailed along the South Coast during Olympic celebrations in 2012, is being constructed from pieces of wood donated by members of the public and organisations.

A piece from Nelson's flagship HMS Victory was donated by the ship's commanding officer Lieutenant Commander DJ 'Oscar' Whild at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Lt Cdr Whild said: "The wood was recently removed from the port bow section of the ship's outer planking as part of the ongoing restoration.

"During her time in dry dock, HMS Victory has undergone many repairs where wood has been replaced over the years and although it is not usual for the timber to be re-used in this fashion, we are very happy to be linked to this project.''

A piece from HMS Warrior 1860 was also presented to artist team Lone Twin by the ship's captain Commander Ken Jones.

He said: "HMS Warrior was built on the banks of the River Lea in East London, over 150 years ago, at the Thames Ironworks and Ship Building company's yard.

"Today, this site is Canning Town railway station in the London Borough of Newham and Newham is the home of the 2012 Olympics.

"So this piece of Warrior will be going home.''

Mark Covell, boat builder and British Olympic silver medallist and America's Cup sailor, said: "HMS Victory represents so much to so many in that she was instrumental in the history of our nation as the flagship of the Royal Navy.

"Working on the Victory was my first commercial job as a boat builder when I completed my apprenticeship and I felt honoured then, as I will do so now to work with her timbers and so contribute to her legacy.''

Mr Covell and the Lone Twin team, which includes yacht designer Simon Rogers, are creating the boat at Thornham Marina, Emsworth, West Sussex.

They are looking for people to donate pieces of wood to be included in the ship as well as nominations for people to help sail it from Weymouth to Margate next year.

A spokesman said: "Mundane or extraordinary, the wooden donation can be small or large, but it must contain a story.''

The Boat Project is one of 12 projects to celebrate the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad across the UK, funded by Arts Council England.

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