Portsmouth-based ailors in Goa to help out at a school for orphans

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SAILORS from a Portsmouth-based frigate have brought smiles to the faces of orphans in India.

Crew members from the Type 23 ship HMS Richmond gave up a day of their time while their ship visited Goa to lend a helping hand at the charity-run school Mango Tree Trust.

Richmond’s sailors found their skills were required restoring school desks, fixing repairing electrical wiring and cutting down trees in the garden.

Sue Steele, who runs the ship’s canteen, said she was thrilled to help out at the school.

She said: ‘It’s really great to be able to help the children.

‘I was really touched by their enthusiasm. It was a long day repairing equipment and they kept our spirits up.’

Richmond’s doctor, Surgeon Lieutenant Rob Arrwoodward, also helped with the repair work.

He said: ‘The ship’s company have a diverse skill range – everyone has brought something different to the table.

‘I’m just glad we could help.’

As well as performing repairs to vital equipment and improving the school’s surroundings, the sailors organised sports and activities for the children including pass-the-parcel, a sack race and a game of cricket.

For the sack race, sailors used bags which had been used to deliver parcels and letters from families to the ship.

Chief Petty Officer Tim Cox said it was a ‘thoroughly rewarding experience.’

He said: ‘I was very proud of the way the team from HMS Richmond worked hard to make it an enjoyable day for the children.’

The school is in the neighbourhood of Altinho, which is part of Goa’s state capital, Panaji.

The site has proven to be a popular spot to visit for Royal Navy sailors.

Earlier this year the crew of survey ship HMS Enterprise was there to fix services to the Mango Tree including water and electricity supplies.

Richmond is near the end of a nine-month patrol of the Gulf and Indian Ocean region, protect the sea lanes and tackling illegal activity.

She is due home in Portsmouth shortly before Christmas.