My name is Tom Daly and I was chairman of the Harwich Mayflower Project (HMP) until 2017. I’d like to address points made by a letter printed in this newspaper last week.

Firstly, I love Harwich and have watched with sadness its decline over my 34 years working here.

I was happy to give endless hours of my time and energy to try to, in a small way, to help the town regenerate.

I am frustrated the town has missed out on the opportunity of a generation; to build a replica of the Mayflower in Harwich.

Personally, I’ve donated more than £250k to the project with no expectation of repayment. I have not wanted this to be publicly known, but now is the time to address it.

Other trustees, volunteers and staff have also given up huge amounts of time, money, and energy, travelling at their own expense to London, Plymouth, Leiden in the Netherlands, Southampton and elsewhere, to attempt to raise funding for the project.

I am honoured to have worked with and to have known these generous people.

No funds were ever taken out of the project.

To be clear, training money was used only for hundreds of trainees, on teachers, resources and materials, as the funds were ring-fenced for that only by the Fund Providers for Training.

Small amounts of money from Harwich Town Council were spent on Harwich Station’s restoration while funds provided for the visitor centre were used for that and only that, complying with the terms and conditions.

For anyone who’d like to know more, all accounts for the Harwich Mayflower Project are open and publicly available on the Charity Commission website.

The HMP has not been a failure. We may have not succeeded in building the ship, however there have been many achievements.

Training and apprenticeships were provided for many youngsters.

Staff were paid and employed for more than eight years. Onsite work experience was provided in partnership with many organisations including the Prince’s Trust, SEETEC and others including for young offenders.

The derelict Rail Shed in Harwich has been restored, winning awards from Rail Heritage, and featuring a fantastic mezzanine part built by trainees.

Harwich Station was a disgrace and it now includes a wonderful railway museum and visitor centre.

A decrepit part of the town has been renovated too, having been neglected for years, with mural paintings and restored seating. Much more besides.

I stepped down from the charity in 2017 due to frustration at the difficulties in trying to get required funding for the ship. I was not sidelined. Many great people worked on the HMP together, to try to make a difference in the community.

Someone with no connection to the project has seen fit to publicly denigrate all those involved including myself.

He has cast false and unsubstantiated allegations far and wide. This is completely unfair.

Tom Daly

The Street

Little Clacton