On the day that Blyth’s Tall Ship Regatta began, the town’s new pub, The Commissioners Quay Inn, took delivery of a handcrafted replica of HMS Victory.
The intricate model of Nelson’s flagship in the Battle of Trafalgar was gifted to the quayside-based pub after it made a donation to The Friends of the Church of Our Lady – a group of volunteers working to preserve the historic 11th century church at Seaton Delaval Hall.
Standing at 88cm high and more than a metre long, the model was donated to the Friends by Margaret McBriarty – whose late husband Terry painstakingly crafted the replica – to help raise funds for the church’s restoration project.
It was presented to The Commissioners Quay Inn general manager Catherine Bellhouse by Mrs McBriarty, where it will take pride of place long after the actual Tall Ships have left Blyth at the end of the festival on Monday.
Catherine Bellhouse said: “We were delighted to support such a worthy, local cause as The Friends of the Church of Our Lady and feel humbled to have such a magnificent artifact on permanent display here at The Commissioners Quay Inn.
“It is very fitting that Mrs McBriarty was able to present the ship to us on the actual day that the Tall Ships themselves arrived at the quay outside and will be a legacy of their visit.
“The model has attracted a lot of attention and interest and certainly bears a striking resemblance to some of the ships in front of the inn today. It’s a real talking point.”
Mrs McBriarty said: “The model of HMS Victory was crafted by my husband. He found building these ships a way of concentrating and relaxing after he took early retirement due to his ill health.
“I’m really pleased that it has linked up with the new Commissioners Quay Inn. My husband would have been delighted that thanks to their generous financial donation he has been able to support this beautiful little chapel.”
The Church of Our Lady has been closed for more than two years due to structural issues, but the volunteers hope to reopen the Norman church next year. Visitors are still able to view the church’s fascinating interior from its porch. Click here to arrange a visit or to make a donation.