HUNDREDS of people have pledged to throw their weight behind a world-record bid to celebrate one of Portsmouth’s greatest sailing heroes.
The record would be in tribute of Sir Alec Rose’s triumphant return to the city 50 years ago after completing his solo round-the-world voyage.
To mark the event, organisers are looking to create the world’s largest human image of a ship on Southsea’s Castle Field, in May.
Ocean racing legend Alan Priddy is behind the plan – which is gaining global attention since being revealed in The News earlier this month.
A spokesman for Mr Priddy’s team, said: ‘We have been absolutely blown away by the readers of The News.
‘We have had hundreds of people coming through to us asking to be involved.
‘Our furthest volunteer is from Australia. We even had someone from Florida saying they wanted to be involved.’
As well as the overseas supporters, the bulk of those eager to join the spectacle have come from Southsea, Copnor and Drayton.
Southampton Boat Show set the record for the largest human boat in 2016, with 370 people taking part.
Mr Priddy hopes to attract at least 1,000 people with his bid, which is earmarked to take place on Monday, May 28 – the spring bank holiday.
Among those taking part include staff from The News with a contingent of reporters set to join the crowd.
Mark Waldron, the paper’s editor, said: ‘This is a perfect opportunity for the people of Portsmouth to come together and celebrate one of the city’s greatest sailing legends and a true local hero.’
Portsmouth City Council boss Donna Jones is also backing the plan. She said: ‘The plans to celebrate Sir Alec Rose’s triumphant return are brilliant. It’s a real chance to showcase Portsmouth.’
May’s attempt is the first of two record bids marking the anniversary, The second is due to happen on the weekend of July 7 and 8 when it’s hoped a flotilla of small boats will escort Sir Alec’s old vessel, Lively Lady, to the city.
Lively Lady is currently undergoing refurbishment on Hayling Island. This is expected to be finished in the next few months.
Those eager to take part in either world-record bid are being urged to visit livelylady.org