Navy team lifts a minehunter’s weight

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A NAVY mine-hunting team on deployment in the Gulf has lifted the weight of one of their ships for charity.

The 15-strong staff of the Royal Navy’s Commander UK Mine Countermeasures Force (COMUKMCMFOR) based in Bahrain have bench-pressed 615 tonnes - the weight of a Hunt class minehunter.

It took seven days to complete the challenge and the team raised almost 
£1,500.

The money will be donated to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, the National Deaf Children’s Society and Merchant Taylor’s Guild School.

Able Seaman ‘Bobby’ Ball, who organised the event, said he was thrilled with the result.

He said: ‘This was a real challenge for the staff, with many of them never having lifted weights before, so we put a robust training plan in place so that everyone would be able to lift their daily allowance.

‘Some of the staff enjoyed it so much that they lifted far more than they needed to, with some lifting the equivalent of a double-decker bus every day.’

The leader of the team, Commander Paul Ottewell, said the sailors had performed admirably.

Cmdr Ottewell said: ‘I am mightily impressed with the grit, determination and fitness shown by the team and how everyone overcame increasingly sore muscles, putting in maximum effort and achieving our goal ahead of schedule.

‘As a mine warfare battle staff, it was very appropriate that we should lift a mine countermeasures vessel.

‘I am immensely proud of my staff’s achievements, not only in this challenge but how they have performed over a period of prolonged and diverse operations in the Middle East.’

The COMUKMCMFOR staff were asked for ideas on events to raise money for charity during their six month deployment to Bahrain.

A number of ideas, including a ‘Great Battle Staff Bake-Off’ and a run across the Bahrain desert were discounted.

The charity event needed to be something that could be completed at sea and a bench press challenge fitted the bill.