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Wednesday, 11 December, 2002, 07:08 GMT
Historic ship needs repair
Cutty Sark
The Cutty Sark was put in dry dock 50 years ago
One of London's most famous landmarks is in such a poor state of repair that it may disintegrate within four years, a charity has warned.

The Cutty Sark was put in a dry dock in Greenwich 50 years ago after having sailed the world for nearly a century.

But now the trust that manages the tourist attraction says it needs a minimum of 8m to stop it from rotting away.

In its heyday the clipper was famous for recording the fastest voyage time from Australia to Britain.

Foreign sale

Richard Doughty, chief executive of the Cutty Sark Trust, said: "We need to raise a minimum of 8m for the preservation work or we will have to put her up for sale - probably to a foreigner.

"It would be a shame to lose her, but if we can't raise the money we need we may have to sell her and see her taken abroad."

The Cutty Sark, which was originally designed to last just 30 years, has a wrought iron frame clad in timber.

It is thought the vessel is being badly affected by rust.

The trust, formed to preserve the ship which was launched in 1869, is putting in a bid for money from the Heritage Lottery Fund in December 2003.

A decision is not expected until mid-2004.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC London's Gareth Furby
"The rust is tearing the ship apart"

Click here to go to BBC London Online
See also:

30 Oct 02 | England
30 Aug 02 | England
15 Aug 02 | England
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