SAILORS who were drafted in to help protect villagers from floods have been officially thanked by the county for their vital help.
Hampshire County Council held a reception for those who took part in the flood relief effort during the period of stormy weather earlier this year.
Hundreds of sailors from Portsmouth, HMS Sultan in Gosport, and HMS Collingwood in Fareham, were sent to help keep neighbours safe from the floods.
They worked for days stacking sandbags and diverting waters which had caused misery for thousands of residents.
Around 40 members of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth joined their colleagues from the RAF, army and emergency services at a reception in Winchester.
Chief Petty Officer Paul O’Shaughnessy is based at Portsmouth Naval Base and attended the event.
He said: ‘It was a privilege to represent the Royal Navy at the reception and for us to be recognised and thanked in this way. We saw first hand how the floods had affected communities and were pleased to help residents when they were in desperate need.’
The leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Roy Perry, said: ‘The extreme weather this winter posed some tough challenges in Hampshire.
‘It is a year we will not forget; not just for the flooding but for the lessons learned and accomplishments made during such a challenging time.
‘I would like to express my gratitude to all those who played a part. We received tremendous support from the emergency services and from district councils, and from the armed forces who played an integral role in averting further flooding from rivers in Winchester and Romsey.’
The Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Dame Mary Fagan, also thanked all involved in the response effort and presented donations of £5,000 to each of the armed forces’ benevolent funds.