Families queue to take a trip around Preston’s adopted Navy boat Charger

Full steam ahead: HMS Charger sails into Preston's historic dock
Full steam ahead: HMS Charger sails into Preston's historic dock
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The sun shone and crowds gathered as Royal Navy vessel HMS Charger sailed into Preston’s historic dock.

Adopted by Preston during the 2012 Guild, the patrol vessel made a return visit to her adopted home this weekend, with Mayor of Preston Coun Nicholas Pomfret aboard.

Ali Haworth, three, of Ashton.

Ali Haworth, three, of Ashton.

Families travelled from across the county to see the special ship, which will stay in the marina until later today.

HMS Charger, under the command of Lt Cdr Ian Critchley, arrived at the dock on Saturday.

She is the Universities Royal Naval Unit (URNU) ship for Liverpool universities, and there are currently 14 URNUs supporting universities in England, Wales and Scotland.

Each URNU consists of undergraduates who join the unit as RN Reservists for their years at university.

Training is conducted one evening a week in shore establishments at or near the university and at sea, over the weekends and during holiday periods.

Lt. Cdr Ian Critchley said: “It is important that the public sees the Navy – a lot of places will never see what the Navy does.

“It just gives people the chance to meet the Navy and see what we do.”

HMS Charger entered the dock escorted by Preston Marina’s own boat, Preston Belle, where she did a full lap of the basin before stopping alongside the visitor jetty.

Charger was open to the public on Saturday afternoon and crowds queued for a tour.

Ray Lilley, 52, travelled from Eccleston with his daughter Courtney to visit the vessel.

He said: “I’ve always had an interest in military history and with it being such a beautiful day we thought it would be a nice day out.

“I think it’s a good thing for the armed forces to engage more with the community.

“If they show what they do and what they are equipped to do and the careers they give to young people, it could perhaps put the community at ease thinking the forces are doing a worth while job.”

Lee Stothard, 39, who lives at Preston docks, visited the ship with his partner Stephanie and his eight-year-old son Alfie.

Stephanie said: “We didn’t know it was here, but it’s just nice to bring the kids so they can have a look around.

“We are just lucky we came down and saw it.

“It’s interesting to go and look around it and it’s nice that it’s here – it’s something a bit different.”

Chris Miller, managing director of Preston Marina said; “We are always delighted to welcome HMS Charger and her crew back to Preston, and we are especially pleased that our mayor was aboard to officially mark her visit and recognise Preston’s historic and proud links with the sea.”

Coun Nicholas Pomfret, Mayor of Preston, said the city had looked forward to welcoming HMS Charger and her crew.

He said: “We are proud that Preston has adopted the ship, which serves our nation with pride.

“Preston has a wonderful military heritage and tradition, which as well as the Army and RAF now extends to the Royal Navy thanks to our affiliation with HMS Charger.”