It's only June, but it'll take an awful lot to topple Sammy Ofer as Londonist's Person of the Year. Having already pledged £20 million for a new wing at the National Maritime Museum, the Israeli shipping magnate has now ensured the full restoration of the Cutty Sark with a £3.3 million donation.
The tea clipper, which was gutted by fire last May, has slowly been put back together, but the small matter of funding has remained a problem. The donation by Mr. Ofer, in addition to the Heritage Lottery Fund's £10 million contribution, has taken the restoration fund to some £23 million and will ensure that the historic ship will reopen to the public by 2010. Plans are for the ship to 'float' above her dry berth, allowing visitors to descry the curvaceous shape of the hull.
And it seems Mr. Ofer, a former Royal Navy cadet whose ships fly Britain's Red Ensign, will have the new gallery named after him - much as the new Maritime Museum wing will bear his legend. It's certainly an expensive way to create a lasting legacy, but as the grateful recipients of such munificence, we won't be complaining.