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Totnes replica galleon perfect for playtime

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 12, 2012

Richard Mitchell of community group Bridgetown Alive! oversees the arrival of the new children's play galleon

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A replica 16th century galleon has sailed into Steam Quay at Totnes to replace its predecessor which was retired after 24 years' active service.

The arrival of the new 12-metre long play ship, which has been hand-crafted in traditional methods, with grown oak frames and larch planking, will be welcomed by thousands of youngsters.

The project to replace the old galleon, which was originally launched in 1988 by Walter Raleigh Gilbert, a distant relative of the seafaring dynasty, was conceived by Richard Mitchell of the community group Bridgetown Alive!

Totnes-based architect Ann Morris, of Fuse Architecture, was brought in to draw up plans for a one-off Elizabethan ship that would meet current play regulations.

Her drawings of a three-masted galleon, with provision for wheelchair users, were brought to life by Old Mill Creek traditional boat-builder Ashley Butler.

Mr Mitchell, who helped secure the £50,000 National Lottery grant to build the boat, said there had been real co-operation on the project.

"It has been delightful to witness so much vitality and enthusiasm and support," he said. "The Duke of Somerset offered oak trees for the build along with the Dartmoor National Park and Dartington Hall. It has been brilliant."

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