THE 140-tonne lightship that has been a centrepiece of Southampton’s Ocean Village for the past 21 years was lifted out of the ground today ready to be taken to its new home.

The Calshot Spit lightship has been loaded onto a 120-wheel trailer this morning to be transported to the historic Trafalgar Dry Dock.

The 95-year-old ship is set to be the gateway attraction at a new heritage site called Aeronautica, which will document the city's aviation and maritime history.

Two 500-tonne cranes were used to lift the ship in a delicate and time-consuming operation.

Aeronautica project officer Squadron Leader Alan Jones said: “I think God must have been on our side today when you look at the weather. Wind would have been a big problem. If it had been windy the cranes wouldn’t have been able to operate. I’ll be very relieved when the moving is over.”

When it is installed at its new home, the Calshot Spit lightship will be restored with the aim of opening it up to the public.