Portsmouth charities to battle in court over ‘disappointing’ restoration of iconic Lively Lady yacht

TWO Portsmouth charities will go head-to-head in court over thousands of pounds spent on an ‘incredibly disappointing’ attempt to restore a world-famous yacht.

Scenes of jubilation, videoed above, greeted the Lively Lady’s Port Solent homecoming in July after volunteers at team-building initiative Around and Around spent a year fixing her up.

The return of Lively Lady to her mooring at Port Solent Marina

The return of Lively Lady to her mooring at Port Solent Marina

But the charity’s founder, ocean racer Alan Priddy, is now suing the International Boatbuilding Training College (IBTC) in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for £15,466 – for the ‘sorry state’ in which the historic vessel left its Boathouse 4 base a year earlier.

Famously sailed around the world by the late Sir Alec Rose in 1968, the 36ft yacht was sent there in October 2015, for what Mr Priddy, its custodian, believed would be a full restoration in time for the festivities three months ago.

But she was removed leaking, with a torn-up deck after the IBTC claimed the £12,400 Around and Around paid over the course of a year was not for a full refurbishment – but accommodation and work by its students ‘as and when it fitted within their curriculum’.

Mr Priddy is now on a mission to get that money back for the Around and Around volunteers who once raised it.

Lively Lady inside the International Boatbuilding Training College in Portsmouth

Lively Lady inside the International Boatbuilding Training College in Portsmouth

‘This money came out of our charity fund which is constantly being topped up and worked on by youngsters from less affluent areas of Portsmouth, who stand on street corners, shake cans, clean cars, make cakes and turn pennies into pounds,’ said Mr Priddy.

‘There is so much wrong done in the world and if I didn’t pull this through I would’ve let the kids down, and I’m not prepared to do that.’

Mr Priddy, who sailed Lively Lady around the world between 2006 and 2008, claims to have made a ‘verbal agreement’ for boat’s restoration with the IBTC’s former chairman at a meeting held in January, 2015.

But trustees appointed after the chairman was replaced have countered that argument, stating a written contract was drawn up for the work – which Mr Priddy claims never to have signed or seen.

Lively Lady after Around and Around volunteers returned her to Port Solent Marina in July, in a recreation of Sir Alec Rose's homecoming of 1968. Alan Priddy is pictured third-left. Picture: Keith Woodland

Lively Lady after Around and Around volunteers returned her to Port Solent Marina in July, in a recreation of Sir Alec Rose's homecoming of 1968. Alan Priddy is pictured third-left. Picture: Keith Woodland

One new trustee was Hereward Drummond, who joined on December 5, 2016 – two weeks before his wife, former Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond, left the same role.

On behalf of the IBTC, he has disputed the claim lodged by Around and Around and ‘denies any indebtedness’ – claiming the charity lived up to its end of the bargain.

‘The understanding of the new trustees was the agreement we had with Alan was similar to the one we have with all other boat owners – that work would be done by students as and when it fitted in with their curriculum,’ he said.

‘Throughout this contract, bills were sent to Around and Around every month and they were paid.

‘That happened for 12 months, so this disagreement could have been sorted out after month one ended.’

Dubbing the court case 'extremely' sad, Mr Drummond said work on Lively Lady at IBTC was halted at the 'start' after instruction from a member of Mr Priddy's team - but students 'were available to work'.

Mr Priddy, whose claim accounts for 'full recovery of monies paid' and 'out of pocket expenses for works not carried out', denies this.

The two charities are set to appear at Portsmouth County Court on October 31.

Legal battle will be charity’s last move

A BOAT-BUILDING charity set to fight a claim of more than £15,000 will wind up after legal proceedings have concluded.

The International Boatbuilding Training College (IBTC) in Portsmouth confirmed settling the case against Around and Around would be its final move before winding down.

In its latest public annual report, the charity confirmed it signed an Asset Purchase Agreement to transfer its business to the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust – who are ‘now pursuing a number of the original aims’ of the cause.

Among these aims are continuing the IBTC’s boat-building college, training students to maintain traditional wooden vessels, collaborating with other charities, providing bursaries to students with a ‘lack of means’ and offering community participation programmes.

Winding down will draw a line under more than five years of operations for the IBTC in Portsmouth, which was established in June, 2013.

IBTC trustee Hereward Drummond said: ‘We have ceased operations and once this case is settled, we can wind up. We can then say all our issues are resolved.’

In its latest financial review – available to read via Companies House – the IBTC said charity operations ceased on August 25, 2017 after it ‘found itself unable to secure sufficient funding streams to make it viable’.

Despite this – and having confirmed ‘there is no money in the bank’ – Mr Drummond said the IBTC is ‘unlikely’ to lose its case surrounding the restoration of the history yacht Lively Lady, which is set to be heard at Portsmouth County Court later this month.

He added the IBTC was liaising with the Charity Commission about the case.