One of Queen Elizabeth 2’s massive anchors is coming home to Southampton as a gift to the city from the Dubai royal family and Cunard.

The 12.5-ton anchor will be a reminder of almost 40 years that the liner was based in Southampton.

Throughout QE2’s unequalled career, the anchor helped steady the liner in every ocean but now its enormous size and weight will firmly secure lasting memories of QE2 in her former home port.

The search has already begun for the best position where the anchor can take pride of place and be easily seen, with Mayflower Park a favourite.

The presentation of the anchor to Southampton will be greeted as a partial victory by the 2,000 people who put their names to an Internet petition urging the return of QE2’s funnel.

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It was during the official handover of QE2, from Cunard to her new owners in Dubai, that the announcement of the gift was made and John Duffy, the liner’s hotel manager and longest serving officer in the Cunard fleet, was asked to accept it on behalf of the city.

Doug Morrison, Southampton's port director, said: “One of the ship’s anchors is a fitting memento of this beloved, historic ship and one that will be welcome in South-ampton.”

Maritime historian Mick Lindsay, from Fair Oak, said: “This is excellent as the anchor will be a perfect way to remember QE2 and all the years she was in South-ampton.

“Mayflower Park is the perfect waterfront site and the city council should now play its part by providing a suitable plinth on which to display the anchor.’’ QE2 is now set to undergo radical changes to convert her into an ultra-luxurious floating hotel in Dubai.

Sultan Bin Sulayem, a member of the Dubai royal family and chairman of the company that paid £50m for the liner, said: “We are deeply aware of the rich heritage that is represented by QE2, a heritage that is both respected and complemented by our own proud history as a sea-faring nation.’’

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