Landmark donation for Greenwich
Sammy Ofer, the Israeli shipping magnate and philanthropist, has secured the future of the Cutty Sark with a donation of £3.3m.
Ofer, who has shipping business interests in London, served in the Royal Navy in the Second World War. He recently gave £20m to the National Maritime Museum for the creation of a major new wing.
Richard Doughty, CEO of The Cutty Sark Trust, described Ofer’s most recent gift as an “extraordinary donation”.
The gift means that private contributions towards the restoration of the Cutty Sark now total around £8m, on top of the £34m pledged by the Lottery Heritage fund. The combined total is enough to complete the remaining restoration work, due to finish in March 2010.
The Cutty Sark had been undergoing a long-term restoration project when in May 2007 a serious fire halted the project and threatened the ship’s future. New plans will cement the vessel’s position at the heart of maritime Greenwich.
Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said: “Mr Ofer's philanthropic contribution will help ensure the complete conservation of this iconic vessel and beacon of our maritime heritage for generations to come."
When completed the ship will be suspended above a gallery to allow improved viewing and access. The trust intends to recognise Ofer’s donation by naming it ‘The Sammy Ofer Gallery.’