Technology entrepreneur and 1982 veteran Andy Trish has launched a bid to save HMS Hermes, the flagship carrier of the Falklands war which he served on.
Mr Trish has in the past been the benefactor of Falklands Camp Education with gifts of computers and other technology which he personally presented to the schools and spent time with the children on two occasions.
The managing director of NCI Technologies, he is globally recognised for his award winning ICT leadership and works closely with schools to deliver innovative, child focussed, transformative solutions. Many will remember his last visit in 2015 when he brought NAO the mini-humanoid robot which mimics human behaviour, which was a great hit in the Camp settlement schools.
Mr Trish is looking to raise around £15m to save the Hermes, the oldest carrier of its kind and is looking to celebrities which may include Rod Stewart and Richard Branson as well the public to help him out on his mission.
The vessel served from 1959 to 1984, after which it was sold to India and renamed INS Viraat. It remained in use until last month when a decommissioning ceremony was held in Mumbai, attended by veterans, including Mr Trish.
On visiting the ship, Trish discovered it faced a bleak future: the possibility of being sunk or scrapped if an Indian firm did not succeed in turning it into a local museum, something he was told is unlikely.
Upset by the historic vessel’s grim prospects, Mr Trish resolved to do something about it.
He said the ship had been home to many thousands of sailors, “and holds a place in each of their hearts, mine included.”
He added in a Facebook post, “People have tried with other vessels to make a business plan and raise funds and many have ended in failure, but I feel if I don’t try, no-one else will. I believe the impossible is achievable and every negative can be turned into a positive. I have faith in me and every man who has ever sailed on board her. I want to one day again witness the 21 Captains of INS Viraat together, only this time alongside the Captains of HMS Hermes on the ship we all love.
“She wouldn’t be sailing again but she would be partly a museum ship, partly offices - there are loads of things she could be. She could be a hotel venue, a concert venue, all sorts.”
He says he has around four months to raise the cash, but stressed that if the long-shot Indian bid to develop it there goes ahead, he will stand down, although he thinks he is in with a good shot of carrying out his ambitious plans.
“Honestly, I think it can happen,” he said. “I wouldn’t be wasting my time if I didn’t think I could do it.”