ICONIC aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious is set to leave Portsmouth next week, The News can reveal.
Lusty, as she is affectionately known, is tomorrow being manoeuvred into a tidal berth in preparation for her final voyage from the city, a naval source has said.
The aim is for the ageing carrier to be tugged out of Portsmouth on Wednesday, December 7.
However, this date is not fixed in stone, the navy official said, explaining that poor weather could potentially postpone the move.
The revelation comes after a last-ditch £15m bid to save the ship and transform the vessel into a floating hotel was rejected by the Ministry of Defence.
Portsmouth ocean racing veteran Alan Priddy also made his own 11th hour plea to save the former flagship.
Earlier this week, he appealed to the government to use the ship as a state-of-the-art facility specialising in celebrating the world of powerboats, which could include space for a Falklands attraction.
And he’s called on Whitehall to ‘delay’ Lusty’s departure – and reopen the bidding process.
But this plan was snubbed by defence secretary, Sir Michael Fallon.
Lusty has been sold for £2m to a Turkish scrap yard.