PLANS to raise a submerged Royal Navy vessel once captained by Prince Charles, have been put together by a community group near Whitchurch.

HMS Bronington, a Cold War-era Ton-class minesweeper, commissioned in 1954, was one of the last naval combat vessels to feature a wooden hull and was renamed in honour of the village, having previously been named HMS Humber.

But after years of service it now lies abandoned, partially sunk in a Birkenhead dock.

However, a new chapter is set to be written in the ship's story, with an intrepid group of volunteers from Bronington drawing up plans to raise it from the floor of the docks.

Peter Horscroft is one of those leading the mission to see the ship recovered, which he says is in a 'shabby but restorable' condition.

"Despite numerous attempts to preserve HMS Bronington in subsequent years, she languishes still in Gillrook Basin, where her condition continues to deteriorate," said Peter.

"The hull is resting on the bottom in silt, showing a list to starboard, caused by the ingress of years of rainwater through her wooden decks.

"Above the waterline is in a shabby condition, with an area along the port and starboard stem in very poor condition.

"Her superstructure is mostly of alloy and, although shabby with peeling paintwork, is in sound and restorable condition.

"The bilges contain standing water which is oily and will have to be disposed of. Other standing water will require analysis before removal.

"As is normal for vessels built in this era, there is an amount of asbestos which is mostly, but not exclusively, confined to the engine exhausts and following a survey by a specialist company can be considered for safe removal."

The ship was decommissioned in 1988, having spent 10 months under the command of the Prince of Wales and was passed into the hands of a Bronington-based trust.

Financial issues for the trust meant that the ship came into the care of the Birkenhead-based Warship Preservation Trust in 2002.

However, in early 2006 the Warship Preservation Trust entered into voluntary liquidation and ‘by default’ ownership of HMS Bronington passed into the hands of Peel Ports, who moved the vessel to Gillbrook Basin.

Tragedy finally struck for the vessel in 2016, as it partially sunk in its dock after suffering years of neglect.

Peter continued: "Overnight on March 18-19, 2016, Bronington inexplicably sank at her moorings, the cause of which is as yet unknown.

"This presents a problem with her buoyancy and the condition of her hull, although it is believed she may now be sitting on the bottom."

But Peter and his team remain hopeful and have drawn up plans to have the ship recovered, consisting of a condition survey, re-floating and repair and eventually seeing the ship restored to its former glory.

These plans will be fully discussed at a meeting of the newly formed HMS Bronington Preservation Trust, to be held at the Hanmer Arms on Saturday, October 2 at 2pm.