CAMPAIGNERS are mounting a bid to save HMS Liverpool from the scrapheap when she retires from naval service next year.
The Portsmouth-based destroyer, which has been in action off the coast of Libya since April, is set to be decommissioned by April 2012 following 30 years of service.
But rather than see the warship cut up for scrap metal like previous Type 42 destroyers, people in Liverpool want the ship – nicknamed Crazy Red Chick – to come home to roost in her home city once she leaves the navy.
A fundraising appeal has been launched along with an online petition calling on the Ministry of Defence to allow HMS Liverpool to become a top tourist attraction on the River Mersey.
Michelle Burgess, 49, who is the north west co-ordinator for forces’ charity Support Our Soldiers, has started the Save HMS Liverpool Appeal.
She said: ‘She is our city’s ship and she’s had an interesting naval career, especially with what she has been doing recently in Libya.
‘It would be a crying shame if she was sent to a scrapyard or sold off to a foreign navy.
‘There has been a lot of regeneration along Liverpool’s waterfront and it would be fantastic to see the ship moored up on the Mersey for tourists and cadets to use and enjoy. I was at the commissioning ceremony nearly 30 years ago and the ship is a big part of my past too.’
HMS Liverpool was built by Cammell Laird on the Mersey and commissioned in 1982.
The ship’s company enjoys the freedom of Liverpool and marched through the city streets for the final time in March this year ahead of being called into action off the coast of Libya.
The warship continues to support front-line operations and has been fired on at least 10 times since arriving in the warzone in April.
The Save HMS Liverpool Appeal is in its infancy and has support from Liverpool City Council which has started talks with the MoD.
An MoD spokesman said: ‘We are looking at various options but first and foremost we have to look at getting the best value for taxpayers.’
For more information, visit savehmsliverpool.co.uk.