Joy as Portsmouth's Mary Rose Museum marks its two-millionth visitor

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BRITAIN’S only heritage attraction dedicated to honouring the history of the doomed Tudor warship the Mary Rose has celebrated its two-millionth customer.

The multi-million pound attraction, in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, reached the landmark milestone this morning, six years since its purpose-built museum was first opened.

Pictured : Bob Meredith dressed as Vice Admiral Sir George Carew with chief executive Helen Bonsor-Wilton presenting visitors, Sue Pope, her daughter Rosanna and Sue's husband, Colin Pope with a gift bag outside the Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth.''Picture : Habibur Rahman

Pictured : Bob Meredith dressed as Vice Admiral Sir George Carew with chief executive Helen Bonsor-Wilton presenting visitors, Sue Pope, her daughter Rosanna and Sue's husband, Colin Pope with a gift bag outside the Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth.''Picture : Habibur Rahman

And the historic accolade of being the two-millionth person through the doors went to engineer Colin Pope.

The 55-year-old from Cambridge was visiting the Mary Rose Museum with his daughter, Rosanna, and wife, Sue.

QUIZ: How well do you know the Mary Rose?

Mr Pope was blown away by the surprise and said: ‘We had never seen the museum before. We came down today to fulfil my wife’s dream and to see it. It was a complete surprise, it wasn’t what we expected.

‘It’s a dreary day here in Portsmouth but this surprise brightened up our day no end.’

Mr Pope’s family received a VIP tour of the museum, which included a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into the centre’s conservation hub.

Mrs Pope said she had wanted to see the Mary Rose since watching the vessel being recovered from the Solent on TV almost 37 years ago.

The 55-year-old added: ‘It has been a really amazing day.

‘I was just blown away by it all. It was really good to go behind the scenes and see all the conservation work that people are not normally able to see.’

Mr Pope added he was impressed by the quality of the museum’s displays and said: ‘It’s not just a stuffy load of old exhibits.

‘Everything here is brought everything to life, from the people on board to the skeleton of the ship’s dog.’

Helen Bonser-Wilton, chief executive of the museum said she was delighted to welcome the Popes to the attraction.

She added: ‘In the six years since we first opened our doors we’ve seen visitors from all corners of the UK and the world as they discover the story of the Henry VIII’s favourite warship.

‘It is great for our team to be able to celebrate this milestone. We look forward to welcoming our three-millionth.’

The Mary Rose sank in the Solent while fighting a French armada in 1545. She was recovered in October 1982.