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Best Days Out Cornwall

Team effort brings model ship from Ukraine front line to Shipwreck Treasure Museum

Posted in News by Lauren Webb on 4th September 2023

A model ship created by a retired Ukrainian rocket engineer during the conflict for a Cornish museum has successfully completed its epic journey from the heart of the war-torn country to Charlestown.

Plymouth businessman, Andy Evangelou, responded to a plea from the historic port’s Shipwreck Treasure Museum for help in transporting the handcrafted model of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance from Dnipro in eastern Ukraine to the Cornish port.

Retired rocket engineer, Vitaliy Vrubel, was commissioned by the award-winning museum to create a model of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s famous ship which he completed in his home workshop, in between taking shelter due to regular air raid warnings.

During Andy’s seventh self-funded trip to Ukraine to take tonnes of donated food, medicine, and essential items to help those in need in the country he also made it his mission to bring Vitaliy’s model back on the 32-hour, 1800-mile return trip home.

Andy enlisted the help of Lionel de Lange, a South African resident of Kherson who was willing to head to embattled Dnipro, which is classed as a ‘hot zone’ close to the conflict’s front line. Vitaliy recently fled the area with his wife, Tatiyana, to seek safety in Poland.

Lionel’s risky journey to collect the model ship from Dnipro involved a 5-hour diversion to avoid villages currently occupied by Russian forces before making the 310-mile drive to Kyiv where he met Andy.

Lynné Raubenheimer, visitor engagement manager at Shipwreck Treasure Museum said:

“We are so grateful to Andy and Lionel who have gone above and beyond to bring Vitaliy’s amazing model safely to us at Charlestown. It will now form part of our very special exhibition that tells the captivating story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expedition in which Endurance was crushed in the Antarctic ice and the explorer’s heroics saving his crew against the odds.

“It’s fitting that the journey that this beautiful model of Endurance took from a chaotic war zone to Cornwall encapsulated the spirit of adventure, risk and overcoming adversity that Shackleton famously embodied more than 100 years ago.”

Learn more about the museum’s immersive Shackleton exhibition, staged in conjunction with The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), by visiting www.shipwreckcharlestown.co.uk.