Today Liverpool bids a fond farewell to HMS Prince of Wales after her first visit to city – the first time she has been to a non-naval port in the UK.
During her eight-day visit:
- Over 20,000 people have been on board including 2,000 students with an interest in pursuing careers in engineering, with thousands more viewing the ship from Princes Parade.
- The ship’s rugby team helped raise over £15,000 to help with the rehabilitation of Luke Mortimer, aged seven, from Skipton, who lost both hands and legs after contracting meningococcal meningitis just before Christmas.
- Additional funds were also raised for the ship’s local charity Tom Harrison House, which supports military veterans.
- The ship was the centre piece of a ‘military village’ which gave an insight into life in the services, explaining their role and how they support the nation in times of peace and conflict.
- Hundreds of members of the public joined in with celebrations after the family of Able Seaman Rhys Zanetti surprised him on board for his 18th birthday
Captain Darren Houston, the Commanding Officer of HMS Prince of Wales, said: This visit to Liverpool has reinforced HMS Prince of Wales’ proud links to the city, where parts of the ship were built. The ship’s company and I have been genuinely overwhelmed by the incredibly warm Merseyside welcome that we experienced.
“With 95% of the nation’s trade relying on the sea, a strong, capable and flexible Royal Navy is vital to our continued economic prosperity.
HMS Prince of Wales and her sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, lie at the heart of the Royal Navy’s transformation into a carrier task group navy, delivering a revolution in capability that will ensure the UK’s influence and access to the seas for the next 50 years.”
Liverpool’s Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for culture, tourism and events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “HMS Prince of Wales has been a striking addition to our waterfront and has proved hugely popular during its time in the city.
“Crowds turned out in their tens of thousands over the weekend – and the feedback from those lucky enough to get tickets to go on board has been hugely positive, with people enjoying this unique opportunity.
“It’s been wonderful to have Liverpool’s affiliated Royal Navy vessel spend time in the city and we wish the captain and crew fair winds and following seas.”
After she leaves Liverpool, HMS Prince of Wales will continue her sea trials in the Irish Sea before returning to her home port of Portsmouth.
The carriers are the first in the word to be specifically designed to operate the F35 Lightning jet. The short take off and vertical landing jets feature advanced stealth technology, weaponry and sensors, making them the most formidable aircraft in the word today.
You can follow HMS Prince of Wales’ career by following @HMSPWLS on Twitter.
Visit www.royalnavy.mod.uk for more information.