The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company brought 14 crew members from HMS Vigilant to the Island as part of a charity challenge.
The submarine crew spent three days in the Isle of Man, cycling around the TT course, playing a friendly football match against Isle of Man Post Office and attending a reception at Douglas Town Hall. HMS Vigilant, one of four Vanguard Class Submarines which are part of the UK’s Nuclear Deterrent programme, has a long-held civic affiliation with Douglas.
HMS Vigilant has just returned to service after a three year refit, and the crew wanted to do something to re-establish links with the Island’s capital. They decided to embark on a sponsored cycle ride from their base port on the Clyde in Scotland to Heysham and then around the TT course – a total of 240 miles – in support of the Mayor’s charities for 2014/15. The Steam Packet Company provided free return travel between Heysham and Douglas for the visitors.
The visiting crew, led by Chief Petty Officer Dicky Bird and Chief Petty Officer Simon Viney, is made up of a broad range of personnel, including Engineers, Logisticians and Warfare Specialists.
During their three days in the Island, the crew also visited the Manx Legion Club, met representatives of the Mayor’s charities and presented more than £1,500 to the His Worship the Mayor, Councillor Stan Cain JP.
Commanding Officer Commander Dan Martyn said: ‘HMS Vigilant is proud of our allegiance with the town, and the people of the Island. This kind of event would not be possible without the goodwill and generous support of local businesses; and we are especially grateful to the Steam Packet Company for donating the cost of the passage in support of the Mayor’s charities.’
His Worship the Mayor, who has chosen Cruse Bereavement Care, Douglas Live at home Scheme and St Mary’s Lourdes Youth as his nominated charities, added: ‘Douglas was delighted to welcome crew from HMS Vigilant back to the Island, and very grateful for their fundraising efforts towards my chosen charities. I would also like to express my thanks to the Steam Packet Company for their invaluable assistance in bringing the crew over.’
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward concluded: ‘It was a great honour to welcome crew members from HMS Vigilant on board Ben-my-Chree and we were delighted to be able to help with their charity cycle ride in aid of the Mayor’s charities and facilitating a visit to further cement the relationship between the submarine and Douglas.’
Photograph: The HMS Vigilant crew set out from their base