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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 21 August, 2002, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK
Flotilla aims to highlight ship's plight
Boats in river protest
Campaigners want more public viewings of the ship
A flotilla of small ships sailed up the river Usk in Newport to support the campaign to save a medieval ship discovered in the city.

The remains of the15th century ship were uncovered as work on the foundations of a new arts centre for the south Wales city began.

sections of ship's hull
Timbers could be stored in a freshwater lake
Save our Ship campaigners are holding a round-the-clock vigil to prevent the ship being lost when work on the centre is set to re-start.

They want the ship to be excavated and put on display in the city.

But Newport council has said it does not have the resources to do this.

It is hoping to find a freshwater lake where the ship's timbers - which date back to 1465 - can be stored until the funds to put it back together are found.

Save Our Ship wanted the council to open the site up to the public to coincide with the flotilla's sail-past after two previous viewings attracted thousands.


People are coming from far and wide to see the ship

Charles Ferris, ship campaigner

Spokesman Charles Ferris said: "We think the Newport public and the public at large should be able to come to see her before she's destroyed next Tuesday.

"The council says it's considered impracticable to have further open evenings, which is an absolute tragedy because people are coming from far and wide to see the ship.

"By way of compensation we thought that if they came along they could see a small programme of entertainment and keep faith with her.

"A flotilla of boats will come up the river and salute the old lady of the sea."

Future viewings possible

Campaigners organised musical events as well as the sail-by at Newport's Moderator Wharf.

A Newport council spokeswoman said: "We set up two open evenings before but it causes quite a lot of disruption to the contractors and takes quite a lot of planning, so to do one off the cuff is not possible.

"But that is not to say another opportunity to view the ship won't come up in the future."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Wyre Davies
"The ships frame has been almost perfectly preserved"
Save Our Ship campaigner Charlie Ferris
"The people of Newport need to be assured that the ship will will come to no harm."
See also:

15 Aug 02 | Wales
14 Aug 02 | Wales
09 Aug 02 | Wales
22 Oct 01 | England
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