Crowdfunding campaign launched to reopen Appledore shipyard
- Credit: Raymond Goldsmith
Appledore shipyard could be saved if people will get behind an urgent fundraising appeal.
Plymouth businessman Connor Johnson has launched a critical crowdfunding campaign to raise £400,000 by the end of May to seed the revitalisation of the yard.
Mr Johnson says he has an investor company waiting in the wings and willing to put in £4million if he can raise 10 per cent of the capital needed.
He has launched a gofundme online page and says those who invest a minimum of £100 will receive 100 shares in the new Appledore Shipyard Ltd company he has just created. There are also options to invest £500 or £1,000.
The director of Patriot Yachts International in Plymouth is convinced Appledore has a future as a shipyard and believes there are plenty of opportunities to win contracts in the civilian boat market.
The yard closed in March this year, bringing to an end 200 years of shipbuilding on the River Torridge.
Owner Babcock took the decision to close after losing the contract to build an offshore patrol vessel for Malta.
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Those who remain of the original 200 workers now have to make a four hour around trip every day to work at Babcock's yard in Devonport.
Mr Johnson told the Gazette if he could get the capital together he had potentially 10 orders from companies in the Faroe Islands for new fishing trawlers.
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And he says he is friends with the executive vice president of Italian boat building giant Fincantieri, which builds everything from cruise ships to aircraft carriers - and he believed it could even be possible to build cruise ships at Appledore.
Mr Johnson said: "The reason why they want to bring work to us is because I have good contacts.
"There is a call for new yachts, refits everything like that. We are so confident that this yard can become a successful and profitable yard again in a few years time with the right team and management in place.
"The investment company can give me £4m but we need 10 per cent up front to show there is interest.
"I am trying to keep it local for the community. It's such a shame because that development on a 29-acre site will all go to flats eventually - the only going to win with that is a property developer.
"It's only gone when people give up, if you don't give up, everything is possible in life."
To find out more or to contribute to the crowdfunding campaign, go to https://www.gofundme.com/appledore-shipyard .