US billionaire donates cash to help save historic Dundee ship

John Paul DeJoria has pledged £20,000 towards the HMS Unicorn — one of the oldest ships in the world.

John Paul DeJoria donates cash to help save one of world’s oldest ships, the HMS Victoria HMS Victoria via Supplied

A US billionaire has donated thousands of pounds for vital repairs towards one of the oldest ships in the world, which is docked in Dundee.

John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of Paul Mitchell hair products, has pledged £20,000 towards the HMS Unicorn, which is found at Dundee’s City Quay.

The cost of repairs to the attraction, which is one of the six oldest vessels in the world and the oldest British-built warship still afloat, could rise to as much as £1m.

Mr DeJoria, a former US navy serviceman, is worth an estimated $2.9bn and is well known for funding projects across the world.

He is said to have a keen interest in historical ships and has previously donated money to save MV Kyles, the oldest floating Clyde-built vessel in the UK.

The HMS unicorn was built in February 1822 before being brought to Dundee in 1873 to serve as the reserve training ship for the Tay.

The ship was gifted to the Unicorn Preservation Society in 1968 by the Ministry of Defence.

According to surveying work, the ships condition is “surprisingly good”, but the sailing frigate’s age means moving her would be impossible until structural weaknesses are addressed.

Museum director, Matthew Bellhouse Moran said: “The pledge from Mr DeJoria marks the start of our major fundraising programme to undertake the immediate repairs highlighted by our recently completed survey works.

“HMS Unicorn has gone from strength to strength, and we can now say we are in a position to progress with the next stage in the project.

“We are delighted that Mr DeJoria’s pledge has arrived just as we prepare to start our major fundraising campaign.”

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