Saturday, 18 May 2024
Saturday, 18 May 2024

National treasure HMS Unicorn launches Shipmates Membership Scheme

A new friends membership scheme, Shipmates, has been launched by the Unicorn Preservation Society for national treasure, HMS Unicorn, one of the world’s most historic ships, which has resided in Dundee for nearly 150 years.

HMS Unicorn is now a popular museum and visitor attraction, and the new Shipmates scheme offers individual, joint and family membership, with new additional benefits. In addition to free entry to the ship for a year, Shipmates provides a 10% discount in the HMS Unicorn shop, exclusive access to all the latest HMS Unicorn news and allows members to bring a friend to the ship for free.

New members, who by joining will be directly contributing to fundraising efforts, will receive an HMS Unicorn keyring, designed exclusively for the Shipmates launch, which comes in a presentation box and can be easily gifted. Local Dundee artist and illustrator, Whimsical Lush, has lent her support and provided a unique illustration of HMS Unicorn to feature on the wooden keyring; this has been laser engraved onto the front of the keyring by The Workshop Aberfeldy. The credit card-sized key ring doubles as the HMS Unicorn membership card and is small enough to be carried in pockets and handbags.

HMS Unicorn is currently closed to the public until mid-January 2023 for urgent roof repairs, which will require a temporary steel roof to be installed on HMS Unicorn to ensure that the ship is kept securely wind and watertight for the next five years until it can be treated properly. This closure marks the next stage of the repair and restoration of the ship, which has seen over £160,000 spent on it during 2022.

Over £1 million is required to strengthen structural weaknesses which have been identified in the ship before it can be moved to a dry dock for further major conservation works. This structural work includes the replacement of missing or rotten timbers and engineering works to strengthen the ship’s weakest points. A recent generous donation of £20,000 from American entrepreneur and self-made billionaire, John Paul DeJoria, has kicked off fundraising efforts, providing 2% of the total financial investment required for the structural works to take place.

Once the structural work has been undertaken, the ship will be moved to East Graving Dock in Dundee from its current location, as part of Project Safe Haven. Project Safe Haven will see HMS Unicorn forming the centrepiece of the new Dundee Maritime Heritage Centre.

Matthew Bellhouse Moran, Museum Director at HMS Unicorn, said:

“We’re excited about the launch of the Shipmates membership scheme, and the additional benefits it offers members all year round. We wanted to make the scheme as accessible as possible, so as many people as possible get the chance to visit and experience this incredible ship. We hope that by offering a free plus one with our Shipmates memberships, it will attract a new audience to the ship, perhaps those that have never visited before or have very little knowledge of HMS Unicorn and its rich heritage.

“Ultimately, by buying a Shipmates membership, people will be directly contributing to our significant fundraising efforts to ensure that this national treasure, which has so much affection locally, is protected and preserved for future generations to enjoy.”

Those who wish to become members of Shipmates can join via JustGiving by entering the correct membership fee. More information and access to Shipmates membership can be found here.

First launched in 1824, HMS Unicorn is the third oldest ship in the world and Scotland’s only preserved warship. It has been under the care of the Unicorn Preservation Society since 1968.

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