Israeli shipping magnate Sammy Ofer has donated £3.3m to ensure the historic Cutty Sark’s restoration is completed.

The restoration work includes replacing and repairing the teak hull, deck and master’s cabin, as well as suspending the vessel three metres above its dry dock to create a viewing gallery for visitors to see the hull from below.

Mr Ofer made the donation to top up the funding needed to complete work on the world’s sole surviving tea clipper, which has already received £23m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £8m from donations.

“This is truly an inspirational gift,” said Richard Hamilton, chairman of the Cutty Sark Trust.

“By helping to complete the project, the benefit of Mr Ofer’s generosity will be realised by millions of visitors and the local community over the decades to come.”

The restored Cutty Sark is due to reopen in spring 2010.