‘Lusty’s memory will live on’

Kirsty Green, 30, and Brendon Gallagher, 62, both from Gosport, who are former crew members of HMS Illustrious, by a picture of the ship in Illustrious House 

Picture: Sarah Standing (170285-3754)
Kirsty Green, 30, and Brendon Gallagher, 62, both from Gosport, who are former crew members of HMS Illustrious, by a picture of the ship in Illustrious House Picture: Sarah Standing (170285-3754)
Eager crowds at the Christmas lights switch-on in Commercial Road, Portsmouth

Portsmouth’s Christmas lights switch-on is a sparkling success

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SHE may have left for the scrapyard last year but the memory of the former HMS Illustrious will live on in her home city of Portsmouth – as a new block flats.

The first set of families are today starting their new lives in the city’s latest set of affordable homes.

Named after the beloved aircraft carrier, the £2.8m Illustrious House complex is made up of 16 flats.

Based in Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth, the home features a giant image of Lusty inside its entrance.

And to mark the opening of the new site, two former sailors, who served on the real Illustrious, were given a tour of the building.

Brendan Gallagher, 62, of Gosport, was one of the first to sail on Illustrious, joining in 1982 as she was rushed into service following the outbreak of the Falklands War.

He said the building was a fitting tribute to Lusty.

The retired Chief Petty Officer said: ‘This means the memory of the ship will stay in Portsmouth.

‘It gives a place for people to focus on. Now I know this is here, when I pass I will stop and take photos of it.’

Kirsty Green, 30, of Gosport, served on Illustrious from 2007 to 2009.

She said: ‘She was my one and only ship. She meant a lot to me. So it’s an honour to be here.’

She was impressed with the quality of the new homes and added: ‘I want one of the flats myself.’

The site is made up of one and two-bedroom flats. There is space for a shop on the ground floor too.

It forms part of a major expansion by Portsmouth City Council to create some 200 new affordable homes.

It’s the most ambitious council home building project in Portsmouth since the Second World War.

As part of this, a further nine houses and 51 flats are being built on the former Arthur Pope House/Somers Town Health Centre site, in Blackfriars Close. It is due to be finished in June, 2018.

Planning permission has been granted for 23 flats on the site of the old Southsea Community Centre, in Kings Street, and for three sites on land the council owns in Havant, totalling another 95 homes.