Sailor keeps forces safe against Ebola

Petty Officer Lizzy Meatyard
Petty Officer Lizzy Meatyard
Sailors honing their skills at Wellington Barracks in preparation for their Royal guard duties

‘Royal duties ahoy!’

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ROYAL Navy servicemen and women are on their way to tackle the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

And one Portsmouth sailor will be there to make sure all members of the British armed forces are kept safe.

Petty Officer Lizzy Meatyard, 29, is working as part of a team with the Department for International Development in Sierra Leone.

PO Meatyard is a Royal Navy intensive care nurse who previously served on board Portsmouth-based HMS Illustrious.

Her deployment to the country comes as the government last night pledged to send hundreds of troops and other military assets to help fight the Ebola virus.

PO Meatyard said: ‘Being in Sierra Leone is really humbling.

‘I am glad to have been given the opportunity to help.

‘I’m proud to be providing the insurance policy to enable our guys and girls to go out on the ground with confidence.’

The British military deployment to Sierra Leone is part of a wider humanitarian aid program being led by the Department for International Development, which also involves Save the Children and the Sierra Leonean government and military.

Yesterday, the government announced Royal Navy assets will be deployed to the continent.

The Ministry of Defence said it will provide hundreds of troops, an aviation support ship and three Royal Navy Merlin helicopters as the UK ramps up its efforts to tackle the virus.

Defence secretary Michael Fallon announced the measures after an emergency meeting of the government.

He said: ‘The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is already a global threat to public health and it’s vital that the UK remains at the forefront of responding to the epidemic.

‘We are stepping up significantly the UK’s contribution and leadership in work to tackle the outbreak, on land, in the air and at sea.

‘We are deploying troops, helicopters and a ship – army medics and Merlin helicopters, supported by the RFA Argus to provide direct support and reassurance.’

The helicopters, along with aircrew and engineers, will be deployed to facilitate the rapid movement of key personnel to areas that they are required.