Building a replica of HMS Beagle in Pembroke Dock could be a “turning point” for the town, a councillor has said.

Councillor Pam George told members at a Pembroke Dock Town Council meeting about the possibility of the town being chosen as the location for building a replica of the ship, after meeting with a trustee of the HMS Beagle Project.

Charles Darwin was on board for one of HMS Beagle’s survey voyages, making the ship one of the most famous in history.

Cllr George said: “This could well be our turning point, if we could get this, and the world would be watching us.”

Cllr George met with HMS Beagle Project trustee and co-founder of Darwin Experience, Wales, David Lort-Phillips – a relative of Admiral John Lort-Stokes, who was the last captain of HMS Beagle.

The HMS Beagle Project would like to build a replica ship in Pembroke Dock, but the town faces c o m p e t i t i o n from Puerto Montt in Chile.

Cllr George said it was obviously early days.

“To have something like that here would be amazing,” she added.

“It would bring thousands of people in. Perhaps this is the kick-start that could get the town up and running again.

“We need something to get the people in, and once you have that, shops and businesses can grow and we could have a thriving town again.”

Mr Lort-Phillips said building a replica of the HMS Beagle had been “on the agenda for some time” and the meeting had taken place to bring some ideas forward.

The HMS Beagle Project has been raising funds since it became a charity in 2008 and its sister project in Puerto Montt in Chile had also been raising funds.

“It’s a race to see who can raise the funds first,” Mr Lort-Phillips added.

Pembroke Dock Town Council is hoping to arrange for Mr Lort-Phillips to speak at a future meeting.