Hoodies win over QE2 dragon

In the Dragon's Den with Captain Ian McNaught are two of the winning team - Matthew Chaganis and Alana Russell-Gear In the Dragon's Den with Captain Ian McNaught are two of the winning team - Matthew Chaganis and Alana Russell-Gear

An idea to sell branded hoodies to marine students has won an enterprise competition judged by the last ever Captain of the QE2. Captain Ian McNaught worked on the QE2 from 1987 until November 2008, when the ship sailed its last voyage to become a floating hotel in Dubai.

In December Captain McNaught returned to his former college in South Tyneside to judge a Dragons' Den-style enterprise competition for marine students.

Dozens of South Tyneside College students pitched their ideas to Captain McNaught and three other marine judges for the chance to win a £1,000 prize fund. The winning idea came from a group of HND marine students, who developed a scheme to sell hoodies for 47% profit per unit.

Branded with both Merchant Navy and South Tyneside College logos, the winning group already have advance orders piling up and, having scooped the prize money, can now go ahead and start production.

Proceeds from sales of the hoodies will be split between the purchase of additional student resources - such as books - and charity.

Event organiser and marine lecturer at South Tyneside College, Jerry Gilmour, said: "This competition was a great way to get our students thinking about enterprise and making them work together as a team to see a project through to its conclusion.

"All the judges - including Captain McNaught - were very impressed with our students' performance. But I think having sales already in the bag really swung the judges' decision in favour of the HND group.

"Now the group can go ahead and make their winning idea a reality. We wish them all the very best of luck."

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