All aboard as the county ship sails in

HMS Northumberland has returned to the North East for a packed programme of activities.

The county’s adopted warship, which was built at Swan Hunter in Wallsend, will be berthed at Northumbrian Quay in North Shields until Monday.

Members of the public will be able to visit the ship on Saturday, and her crew will take part in several sporting events, including a friendly match against Morpeth Rugby Club.

The programme of events will begin today (Thursday) with an official reception for the Duke of Northumberland and Duchess Elizabeth, who was in the Women’s Royal Naval Service during World War II and is a keen supporter of the ship.

Tomorrow (Friday) Commander Paddy Allen will host a Citizenship ceremony on board.

He said: “One of the roles of the Royal Navy is to defend UK citizens, our territory and trade worldwide and I think it is fair to say that the armed forces are as much part of society as any of the uniformed services in the United Kingdom, so it is absolutely right that we help welcome these new citizens into this community.”

There will also be various school, Sea Cadet and recruiting visits during the ship’s brief stay, and community representatives, such as Northumberland County Council Chairman Marcia Bircham, have been invited aboard.

The public can visit from 10am to 3pm on Saturday. Entry and parking is free, but visitors are advised to arrive early as it is expected to be a popular attraction.

Commander Allen said: “I know my entire ship’s company is looking forward to renewing our close ties with our affiliated county and the people of North Tyneside.

“I hope as many locals as possible come along and take time to meet the crew and understand a little more about life in today’s Royal Navy.”

HMS Northumberland has recently spent seven months in the Middle East and Indian Ocean, undertaking maritime security duties and anti-piracy operations.