A FAMOUS entrepeneur has backed a project to create a lifesize replica of a historic ship.

Members of the Mayflower Project bumped into Sir Richard Branson on holiday in Kent where they told him about the bid to recreate the ship that sailed to America 1620.

The Virgin boss gave the thumbs up to the project, which is hoped to see the finish ship resail the journey that more than 100 pilgrims across the ocean.

Sean Day, the Project Funding Coordinator, said his family shared the same hotel as Sir Richard.

His daughter, Mollie, 9, said: “Sir Richard was celebrating his 60th birthday.

“This was our family break and we did not expect to meet him. It was great fun to meet such a famous man.

“Sir Richard was lovely and told me about his daughter Holly.”

Since the chance encounter Sir Richard confirmed himself as a supporter of the Harwich-based charity project.

Mr Day said: “This encounter was totally unexpected and brightened up our week that would otherwise have been spoilt by bad weather.”

Anyone who wants to join the Mayflower Project should visit www.harwichmayflower.com or call 07542 228409.u