The National Maritime Museum in Falmouth has launched its ten year fundraising campaign at a gala dinner and auction, with the Princess Royal as the guest of honour.

Trustees of the museum have set a target of raising £4 million over the next decade and got off to a great start on Thursday when around £80,000 was banked following the black tie event held at the museum.

This year has been a milestone for the museum as it celebrated its tenth anniversary, but thoughts have now turned to the future and the need to bring in more money to enable to attraction to stay at the top of its game.

The museum has enjoyed royal support since its early days with almost every senior member of the royal family having visited on at least one occasion. Princess Anne reiterated her support by attending Thursday’s fundraiser which saw the 123 ticket-buying guests enjoy a meal prepared by Jack Stein, son of Rick and Jill Stein, and wine supplied by St Austell Brewery.

They were waited on by museum staff who had left their desks and offices to take on the duties of waiters and waitresses for the night. The only person to escape such duties was the museum’s director, Jonathan Griffin.

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Tamsin Loveless, the museum’s head of communications and development, said: “We wanted to show that we are a small team with big ambitions and we really want this to work. It was all about launching a new fundraising legacy for the museum to raise awareness of our needs.

“A new fundraising programme is being put together, identifying projects that need funding. We are taking a very realistic approach – it is a tough, tough world at the moment and now is not the best time to be asking for money, but when is?

“We are the custodian of Cornwall’s maritime heritage and we want to preserve it, but we need help to do that, to put on major exhibitions to attract visitors to Falmouth.
If we stand still, we go stale and if we go stale visitors will not come and we won’t contribute to Falmouth’s economy.”

Looking at least ten years into the future, the museum will need to invest money to ensure it retains the public’s interest by staging new exhibitions and upgrading facilities.

“It’s all well and good having bread and butter, but we need the jam to put in the middle over the next ten years,” said Tamsin.

“We cannot put on major, block-buster exhibitions and refurbish generally without some extra funds to make these things happen.

“The Nav Station, for instance, ten years ago was at the top of its game, but technology has moved on a lot in those years. To keep people interested in what we are doing we need to stay fresh and we need funds to make that happen.

“As a registered charity we get no regular Government funding, we need to raise our game when it comes to fundraising.”

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A whole variety of offers were up for grabs at the charity auction, ranging from nights away, sailing coaching, tours and original artwork with winning bids ranging from less than £100 to over £3,000.

Among the lots sold were: n The Kurt Jackson painting Punt Coming Into Priest Cove on the Flowing Tide, £2,600.

  • The Alexander Creswell painting Mariquita and Mariette Running Across Falmouth Bay, £3,500.
  • Seven night voyage on Trinity House’s survey ship Patricia, £1,100.
  • Day sail on Donna Capel with wine and buffet lunch, £350.
  • Six bottles of Quinta Da Noval vintage Port, £850.
  • Three night weekend break at Hell Bay Hotel on Bryger with free Skybus flights and transfers, £1,300.
  • Trewithen Gardens tour with head gardener Gary Long, £180.
  • A night at the Pedn Olva Hotel in St Ives with dinner and breakfast, £325.
  • Dinner party cooked at a venue of your choice, £600.
  • Rugby tickets and tour, £230.
  • Sail and picnic aboard the tall ship Mercedes during next year’s Falmouth-Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta, £600.
  • Private tour of Sipsmith Distillery, £450.
  • Tour of Tregothnan Gardens by horse and carriage, £425.
  • Behind the scenes tour of the Maritime Museum, £75.
  • Two night stay with dinner and breakfast at the Greenbank Hotel, £275.
  • Behind the scenes tour of Pendennis Shipyard, £325.
  • Simply Cornish classic feast hamper, £100.
  • Week’s stay at Trewidden House, £550.