Royal Navy: Portsmouth-based HMS Mersey and Royal Marines musicians join Eurovision celebrations
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The River-class patrol vessel arrived on the Mersey on Wednesday to support the worldwide musical phenomenon. Armed Forces personnel – 50 in total – worked with Merseyside Police to ensure the event ran smoothly.
Sailors belonging to the 79.5m-long ship took part in events ashore in Eurovision village and onboard. the Royal Marines Corps of Drums joined them to add military precision, pomp and ceremony to proceedings with a number of short performances onboard HMS Mersey.
The ship’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander James Mitchell said: ‘It is great to be back in our spiritual home away from Portsmouth and back on the River Mersey. The excitement and build-up to the Eurovision event is incredible and we’re looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere.’
The Royal Navy said they are using Eurovision as an opportunity to showcase their support for Ukraine and to show their solidarity through the overarching theme ‘United by Music’. Liverpool is hosting the song contest in place of Ukraine given the ongoing threat posed by Russia’s illegal invasion.
Solidarity is a strong theme of HMS Mersey’s involvement – with chefs preparing traditional fare from the Eastern European country and the vessel being bathed in their national colours of yellow and blue through spotlights.
A ‘power up’ networking event will be hosted onboard, aimed at Ukrainians living in or evacuated to northern England to gain employment, joining forces with the Power Collective CIC and Northern Power Women, led by Honorary Captain Simone Roche.
‘This year’s event has a significant focus on Ukraine and it is right that the UK and her Armed Forces, demonstrates our solidarity and support for the people of Ukraine,’ CO Mitchell added. Marine Engineer Tom Horan is the biggest Eurovision fan aboard HMS Mersey.
He said: ‘The fact that HMS Mersey will be berthed in the heart of Liverpool, adjacent to the fan zone, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the buzz and vibe around the city will be amazing. Eurovision is a great event which brings different people and nations together and demonstrates the power of music in uniting everyone, no matter what their differences.’
HMS Mersey previously spent a fortnight patrolling UK waters.