Illustrious’s scrapping is a ‘travesty’ for Portsmouth say Alan Priddy

The former HMS Illustrious leaving Portsmouth for the final time Picture: Sarah Standing (161622-4655)
The former HMS Illustrious leaving Portsmouth for the final time Picture: Sarah Standing (161622-4655)
Leading WEM Phil Phillips, from Fareham, waves to his wife, Lynne, in the crowd as HMS Liverpool returns home after seven months on duty

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OCEAN racer Alan Priddy has branded the scrapping of the Royal Navy’s last working aircraft carrier ‘a travesty’.

Mr Priddy was one of those backing last-minute efforts to preserve the former HMS Illustrious which left Portsmouth on Wednesday for a Turkish scrapyard.

He wrote to the government last week, urging ministers to turn the 22,000-tonne giant into a UK centre for powerboats

But his plea, along with others by veterans and Euro politicians, was snubbed, with Lusty being sold for about £2m.

Mr Priddy said: ‘It’s a travesty. I don’t think Portsmouth was even that interested in preserving her, which is a crying shame.

‘Portsmouth can seem to invest and support a lot of vanity projects, but something that’s important to Portsmouth and its heritage doesn’t seem to warrant any bit of attention.

‘Lusty would be great for Portsmouth.’

Mr Priddy said there was still plenty of potential left in converting the Invincible-class warship.

He added several years ago, Chinese investors had approached him, keen to take the hull and turn it into a conference centre and club.

Mr Priddy said: ‘If someone else can see Lusty as a worthwhile venture, why can’t Portsmouth?’

Illustrious is being replaced by the new 65,000-tonne Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.

The first, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is due to arrive in Portsmouth in the spring, followed by sister ship HMS Prince of Wales in 2019.