The Royal Navy type 45 destroyer HMS Dauntless has returned home to Newcastle – for a few days at least.
The vast ultramodern battleship docked at Northumbrian Quay in North Shields to pay visit to her affiliated city.
It will leave again on Monday, but its crew are certainly making the most of the little time they have on dry land.
They will play a friendly football match against Whitley Bay FC tonight, and the even more energetic among the crew will take on a mammoth charity cycling challenge.
Between 20 of them, they will travel 301 miles on cycling machines – the same distance as from Newcastle to Twickenham, where the annual Army v Navy rugby match will take place on May 3.
The event will run for 10 hours on the jetty by the ship’s main gates in full view of the public, and aims to raise as much money as possible for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.
“I couldn’t be more proud to bring this great ship back to her adopted home,” said Commander Adrian Fryer, the ship’s commanding officer.
“The Royal Navy has long had strong bonds with Newcastle and HMS Dauntless has really been taken to the heart of the city.
“I know that my ship’s company and I are looking forward to greeting all our guests during our time in port and chatting to them about our exceptional ship and her role in the Royal Navy at home and further afield protecting and promoting the interests of the UK wherever we go.”
Catering students from Sunderland University went on board to help prepare the food, and they were joined by uniformed services course students from Tyne Metropolitan College and sea cadet units from Wallsend, Chester-le-Street, Newburn and Whitley Bay.
HMS Dauntless, the second of the Type 45 destroyers, joined the Fleet in November 2010, shortly after being the first of the class to fire the new Sea Viper missile.
Destroyers are part of the backbone of the Royal Navy, committed around the world 365 days a year to hunting pirates, drug runners or submarines, defending the fleet from air attack and providing humanitarian aid after natural disasters Britain’s six type 45 destroyers are the most advanced warships the nation has ever built.
Their mission is to shield the fleet from air attack using the Sea Viper missile which can knock targets out of the sky up to 70 miles away.