Thursday, February 7, 2013
Excitement is building within Great Yarmouth’s cobbled streets and along its historic quayside as residents prepare to welcome “home” the borough’s adopted warship HMS Dauntless.
At around 10am HMS Dauntless will arrive at Great Yarmouth’s outer harbour.
Emergency services will enjoy a resilience capability demonstration in the afternoon.
Dauntless will then welcome on board visitors from Lowestoft College and East Norfolk College. The day will be rounded off with an on board reception for invited guests.
Crew will be heading out into the community and taking part in sports matches, including a football game at Lynn Grove High School in Gorleston against staff from Yarmouth’s Grosvenor Casino.
The day will continue with further group tours of the ship. Visitors will include Yarmouth sea cadets, members of the Great Yarmouth and Waveney Special Olympians and students from the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook, near Ipswich, which is one of the ship’s affiliated organisations.
Crew will also take part in a number of charity activities.
Huge crowds are expected to turn out and watch the ship’s company parade through Yarmouth. The crew will leave the town hall at 10.45am and march to the Minster for a special civic service, starting at 11am, to mark Dauntless’ visit.
The parade will move back to the town hall after the service. Mayor Colleen Walker will take the salute outside Palmers in the Market Place before inspecting the ship’s company at the town hall. This will be followed by a civic reception.
The public are also invited on board Dauntless from 10am to 3pm. Visitors will be able to talk to the crew during their tour inside.
Access to the ship will be from behind the East Port offices in South Beach Parade where there will be parking, an undercover waiting area and buses through the port area to the ship. The last bus to the ship leaves the port offices at 2.15pm.
Access to the ship is via a gangway and there is no facility for disabled access.
Dauntless leaves, setting sail at around 9am.
The 7,350 tonne ship is sailing into town tomorrow for an extended weekend visit and scores of well-wishers are expected to turn out on land – and at sea – to watch as she glides into the outer harbour.
This will be the second time the state-of-the-art Type 45 destroyer has visited Yarmouth since it was affiliated with the town in 2010.
While moored up crew will enjoy civic and social gatherings, including an on board reception with dignitaries and a football match against staff from Yarmouth’s Grosvenor Casino.
But the highlight for many during Dauntless’ stay will be a parade through the town by the ship’s company, which is expected to bring crowds of people on the streets, and the chance to step on board the impressive warship when it lowers its gangplank to visitors on Sunday.
Yarmouth mayor Colleen Walker is looking forward to the weekend of celebrations and feels the visit is hugely important for the town in keeping its rich maritime history alive.
She said: “I think we look on any of Her Majesty’s services that we align ourselves to as very important but particularly because we are a naval town, with our naval history relating as far back as Nelson, there’s always been this affinity with the sea. So I think it’s important that carries on.
“I think the people of Great Yarmouth all love the civic pride and Dauntless being what she is I think you’ll find the crowds will come out in their droves.”
As well as her affiliation to Yarmouth, Dauntless also has links with Caister Lifeboat, one of only two independent offshore services.
The ship’s company regularly raise money to support it and Derek George, lifeboat secretary, hoped people from across the county would turn out to give the crew a heroes welcome.
He said: “The nation really supports the armed forces, whichever branch they are. Locally, to be bonded with one of the most modern pieces of weaponry is terrific.”
Mr George said mechanics and engineers at Goodchild Marine in Burgh Castle had been working around the clock to get Caister’s all weather lifeboat ready in time for Dauntless’ arrival.
The flagship Bernard Matthews II has been out of service since October for a full refit but is now back in ship shape condition, ready to sail out into the waves and greet Dauntless.
“There’s an enormous amount of pride as a sister ship to be there when she arrives,” he added.
“Our maritime history goes back forever, we’re the port of Norfolk really and this keeps the tradition alive.”
During her stay Dauntless will also welcome various groups from across the region on board, including the Great Yarmouth and Waveney Special Olympians – a swimming charity that supports disabled youngsters – and sea cadets from TS Norfolk based in Yarmouth.
TS Norfolk chairman Terry Donovan thought the ship’s visit would help forge links with the younger generation who may one day serve on her.
“We’re honoured to be associated with Dauntless. A few of our cadets wish to join the Navy so they can get an insight into what life at sea would be like,” he added.
The cadets’ trip up the gangplank on Saturday will have special significance for Mr Donovan, who served with the Navy for nine years in the 1970s, and he hoped residents would come out in force to support the visit.
He said: “I hope there will be a lot of people out on Sunday watching the parade.
“They’re our armed forces and they do a terrific job and it’s not an easy life in the Navy.
“You spend a lot time away from home and it’s nice for them to see people appreciate what they’re doing for us.”