Alnwick sailor Sam enjoys a proud day

HMS Northumberland parade through Morpeth.'Picture by Jane Coltman
HMS Northumberland parade through Morpeth.'Picture by Jane Coltman
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A proud Alnwick sailor was one of more than 160 servicemen and women to take part in a parade of HMS Northumberland personnel.

Sam Thompson was involved in the march through Morpeth town centre last Friday, in front of hundreds of cheering spectators.

HMS Northumberland parade through Morpeth.'Sam Thompson from Alnwick'Picture by Jane Coltman

HMS Northumberland parade through Morpeth.'Sam Thompson from Alnwick'Picture by Jane Coltman

The parade was led by musicians from the Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland dressed in scarlet tunics, bearskins and kilts.

The event celebrated the affiliation between the 4,500-tonne Royal Navy missile-armed warship and Northumberland and during a short ceremony, a scroll re-affirming its Right of Freedom of the County was presented to the Commanding Officer, Commander Trish Kohn.

The invitation was extended by Northumberland County Council’s civic head Kath Nisbet and following the ceremony, the HMS Northumberland personnel proceeded by coach to County Hall in order to attend a civic reception in their honour.

The public figures from the county that attended the parade included Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck, Air Vice Marshal David Hurrell and Lucy Carroll, High Sheriff of Northumberland.

Morpeth Mayor Alison Byard was also part of the welcoming party and she spoke to a group of servicemen and women.

The ship was first granted the Freedom of Northumberland in 2004.

On Saturday, members of the public were able to go on board between 11am and 4pm at her berthing point in North Shields.

Commander Kohn said: “I’m incredibly proud to be able to bring the ship back to her home county.

“The reception we had in Morpeth was wonderful. The great turnout shows the strength of feeling in the community for the Royal Navy.

“Opening the ship to the public is very important. It is mainly out at sea, so this gives people the opportunity to get a better understanding of what we do and learn more about the work of the Royal Navy.”

HMS Northumberland, a type 23 anti-submarine frigate, was built at Swan Hunters on the Tyne and launched in 1992.

She is regularly engaged in maritime security operations, counter-piracy and counter-narcotic operations in oceans around the world and has recently returned from a seven-month deployment in the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman.