Lyme Regis: HMS Edinburgh and Silver Explorer visit resort

Bournemouth Echo: Type 42 destroyer HMS Edinburgh Type 42 destroyer HMS Edinburgh

Lyme Regis did itself proud welcoming both the Royal Navy and a luxury cruise liner on a bumper weekend.

Mayor Sally Holman said it had been spectacular two days with the visit of the Type 42 destroyer HMS Edinburgh and luxury liner the Silver Explorer.

Dignitaries from the warship and cruise liner passengers also attended a ceremony to rename the seafront pavilion in honour of the Jubilee.

Coun Holman said: “It was a truly amazing weekend for Lyme Regis, it was spectacular.

“The experience was highly positive for everybody involved.

“The comments we have had from HMS Edinburgh and the cruise ship people have been really, really encouraging.”

Commanding Officer of HMS Edinburgh, Nick Bourbone, Commodore Jamie Miller and crew members were in town for an action packed three-day visit.

The weekend started with a civic reception for HMS Edinburgh in the Guildhall followed by one at Ware House with Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset Minnie Churchill.

Then about 30 of the ship’s company enjoyed getting acquainted with the town’s nightlife.

On Saturday the crew joined in races with gig club and rose to the challenge of playing a friendly with Lyme Regis Football Club which ended in a diplomatic three all draw.

Football club chairman Howard Larcombe said: “It was very successful with a nice big crowd watching. It was a great afternoon played in a good spirit.”

Second World War veteran Brian Hackett, 89, of Lyme Regis and his proud son Peter were also in town to see the ship.

Mr Hackett senior spent time talking with the commodore and ship’s captain.

Son Pete said his father joined up aged 14 and was involved right up to the Korean War.

He added: “He was a Royal Marine bandsman and served on a number of destroyers and it was pretty grim.

“It took away all his teenagehood. He was very lucky to have survived it all.

“He served on the Russian Convoys, the Atlantic Convoys and he was in Japan after the bomb.”

“They were very interested in talking to him and I think in the end he quite enjoyed talking to them.”

The navy also took 180 people on a ship’s tour, including Woodroffe School Combined Cadet Force and Bridport Sea Cadet Unit.

Some families were disappointed to learn children under 10 were excluded from the tour.

Harbourmaster Graham Forshaw said they were not told until 48 hours before that physical transfer from one vessel to another and steep and narrow stairs onboard were unsuitable for young children.

To make amends Mr Forshaw is planning trips to sea with mackerel fishermen and activities on the beach for those unable to get on the navy destroyer.

On Sunday evening HMS Edinburgh hosted a reception, which included a capability demonstration and look at the operations room and the bridge.

On Sunday town crier Alan Vian and a number of Lyme Regis councillors welcomed visitors from the Silver Explorer, the first stop for the 130 passengers on the 6,000 tonne vessel’s round Britain cruise.

Coun Holman said there had been concerns cruise passengers would by-pass the town as they participated in excursions organised by the cruise company, but local attractions like fossil, historic and literary walks proved popular.

Coun Mark Gage added: “We have had a fantastic weekend, marvellous for the town and we hope for the cruise ship.

“One of traders commented that someone had said it was a beautiful town full of friendly people and you can’t get any better than that.”

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