HMS President: Former deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine backs bid to save First World War ship from scrapyard

Rachael Burford
HMS President is the UK's only surviving Q-ship

Michael Heseltine has backed an ambitious bid to save one of Britain’s last remaining First World War ships by towing her back to London.

Two years ago, the HMS President was moved from her mooring in Blackfriars to Chatham, Kent, to make way for the Thames “super-sewer”.

Campaigners want to tow the 100-year-old “Q ship” to east London and turn her into an event space or floating school, but say they are running out of time before the saltwater in Chatham docks rots the hull.

Former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine , who wants to see the ship return before events in November marking 100 years since the Great War ended, said: “The HMS President is an important part of British history.

HS2 support: Lord Heseltine has backed the scheme to

“In her centenary year she should be playing her part keeping the memories of those who sacrificed so much during the First World War alive. We should do everything we can to save her from the scrapheap.”

Professor Ed Berman, whose social enterprise trust Inter-Action owned the ship until the late Nineties, is petitioning to take her over again and have her moored in Tower Hamlets.

Paul Williams, director of the HMS President Preservation Trust which owns the ship, added that someone had to “put their hand in their pocket” to save her.