Pirate ship gift an ideal tribute

A REPLICA pirate ship donated by an American football team was unveiled to the public in Priory Meadow last Thursday.

Hundreds of people headed down for an evening of entertainment and to get on board the 14-metre-long boat.

The pirate ship at Priory Meadow

The pirate ship at Priory Meadow

It was donated by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from Florida who saw the gift as an ideal tribute to mark Hastings’ fifth annual Pirate Day, which is on Sunday, July 21.

Entertainment at the unveiling in Queen’s Square included cheerleading by South East Stars, singing from Hastings Shanty Singers and music from Section 5 Drummers.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also sent a helmet and football shirt from their team to mark the occasion.

Roger Crouch, organiser of Pirate Day, said: “It was a lovely evening with hundreds of families turning out to get on board the ship. The reaction from the people who came was one of amazement and surprise on how good the ship is. We have received excellent feedback. I am very proud to have been given such a gift on behalf of Hastings Pirate Day. It is sure to attract a lot of visitors and National Football League (NFL) followers alike to see the ship which will eventually be found a permanent home in Hastings.”

The ship will promote Pirate Day up to July 21 and be in Queen’s Square during the summer holidays where various activities will take place.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ mascot is a full-size buccaneers’ ship that takes up one whole end of their stadium. It cost $3 million to build. The replica donated to Hastings was made for the team’s game against the Chicago Bears in the International Series Match at Wembley Stadium in 2011.