THE world’s oldest warship still being kept afloat in a North-East dock has secured a fitting way to celebrate her bicentenary year.

A trust dedicated to preserving the historic HMS Trincomalee have hired a fundraising coordinator in a bid to secure £1m towards repairs and maintenance work to protect the ship’s future.

The ship of global importance has been berthed in Hartlepool’s Jackson Dock, as part of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, since 1986, when it became a star attraction at the site.

The HMS Trincomalee Trust have since arranged for Helen Loynes to lead the organisation’s bid for donations that will largely fund essential re-rigging and re-decking of the ship that was built in India in 1817.

Ms Loynes said: “I know the people of Hartlepool and the National Museum of the Royal Navy are incredibly proud to have the HMS Trincomlaee docked within the museum.

“But we must raise funds to make sure the ship continues to thrive over the next 200 years and that we leave a lasting legacy.

“Part of my role will be to make sure that we work with the local community and businesses, as well as major donors, to raise money that will go towards maintaining the ship, so that the region and its future generations can continue to enjoy HMS Trincomalee and its worldwide history.”

As an independent fundraising entity, the HMS Trincomalee Trust is responsible for the conservation and maintenance of the ship and depends entirely on income from grants and donations.

Commodore Paul Sutermeister, chairman of the Bicentenary Committee, said: “Next year marks HMS Trincomalee’s bicentenary celebration and an anniversary of international importance, given her rich history as the world’s oldest British warship still afloat.

“Ensuring that she is preserved for future generations is of the utmost importance and utilising Helen’s vast experience will help to support and drive forward the Trustees’ ambitions for HMS Trincomalee.

“It’s crucial that we are able to secure a sustainable funding pot, given HMS Trincomalee’s maintenance and conservation costs, and Helen is the best fit for the role and I am looking forward to working with her as we prepare to celebrate the ship’s bicentenary.”

HMS Trincomalee was officially launched in October 1817 and has sailed in waters across the world as she served as an active warship protecting British interests in the Pacific, Atlantic and Caribbean.

The vessel went into semi-retirement as a training ship, renamed Foudroyant, before finally ending up in Hartlepool where she was restored to her former glory.