There was a civic welcome last week for an official delegation from Sunderland’s new affiliated Royal Navy vessel – HMS Anson.
The formal Affiliation was announced at this year’s Armed Forces Day commemoration in June, by Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council and Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Michael Mordey.
Cllr Mordey joined the Mayor of Sunderland, Cllr Lynda Scanlan, the Leader of Sunderland City Council Cllr Graeme Miller, and Chief Executive of Sunderland City Council, Patrick Melia, to welcome guests from HMS Anson to the civic centre.
They included National Regional Commander for Northern England & Isle of Man, Commodore Phil Waterhouse ADC, Senior Naval Officer for HMS Anson, Lieutenant Commander Mark Moulding, Chief Petty Officer David Ramsey, and Royal Navy Engagement Officer, Mr Gary McLafferty.
The meeting was arranged to discuss how the city’s relationship with its latest affiliated warship and crew can be strengthened and celebrated over the years ahead.
Currently being built at Barrow in Furness to enter service in 2020, HMS Anson will be one of the Royal Navy’s most advanced Astute Class nuclear powered submarines.
Among the things discussed and planned for the future were:
- Raising people’s awareness of what ‘Affiliation’ with HMS Anson will mean with officers and crew attending community events and activities
- Invitations for the Mayor of Sunderland to represent the people of Sunderland at the commissioning and naming ceremonies for HMS Anson
- HMS Anson being represented at civic occasions such as the annual Remembrance Parade, and annual events such as the Sunderland Airshow
- Regular updates from HMS Anson through social media and council communications
- HMS Anson establishing closer links with local schools and voluntary groups
Cllr Mordey said: “Our city can be proud of its formal Affiliation with HMS Anson, which will be one the most advanced vessels in the Royal Navy.
“It was an honour to meet the senior officers representing her at the visit, and I’m looking forward to welcoming the rest of the ship’s company to our city particularly as I know some of the crew are from Sunderland.
“Our city is proud of our military tradition and links with the Armed Forces, and this Affiliation with the Royal Navy provides us all with the opportunity to demonstrate our continuing support for the servicemen and women protecting our country and community in operations around the world.”
HMS Anson’s Senior Naval Officer, Lieutenant Commander Mark Moulding said: “This meeting was the latest step in establishing a close relationship between the people of the city of Sunderland and the crew of HMS Anson.
“We want to provide people with an insight into our world and a greater understanding of what we do, and demonstrate our pride in the vessel, in our service and in our crew mates.
“One thing we are all particularly looking forward to is representing the submarine and the Royal Navy at Sunderland’s Remembrance Parade in November.
“A few of the crew including myself are from the North-East, so we all know what the occasion means to the city and the region.”
Lieutenant Commander Moulding added: “It was always very important for HMS Anson to have an Affiliation with a Northern city with our current base at Barrow in Furness and future home of HMNB Clyde at Faslane.”