Royal Navy sailors on HMS Prince of Wales in epic run to help ravaged community of St Vincent
ROYAL Navy sailors on Britain’s newest aircraft carrier have been pushing themselves to the limit to help the community of a Caribbean island ravaged by a volcanic eruption.
Nearly three dozen crew on HMS Prince of Wales have vowed to collectively cover the distance from Portsmouth to St Vincent – 4,215 miles – to help shipmates and their families.
The principal island in the Caribbean island chain was devastated when La Soufrière volcano erupted earlier this year.
More than 500 sailors across the Royal Navy come from the Commonwealth nation – including roughly one in 20 of the 700-plus-strong ship’s company of the Portsmouth-based aircraft carrier.
Given the strong links between the Senior Service and St Vincent, fundraising and support has been provided since the first days of the eruptions in April, including RFA Wave Knight delivering several tonnes of aid last month.
The eruption caused – and continues to cause – widespread disruption to the life of islanders.
Around one sixth of the population remains in temporary accommodation while one third of the nation’s farming crops have been destroyed.
Writer Tom Lloyd, who works in the ship’s office, noticed how much the disaster had affected shipmates and their families and was spurred into action.
‘I thought that we could do something to help and as we were going to be at sea a lot of people will work on their fitness,’ said the 27-year-old.
‘Running the distance for St Vincent seemed a useful way to help the families of our shipmates and stay fit.’
Thirty-four sailors have committed to the gruelling challenge – one mile for every two-and-half laps of the sprawling flight deck when available, or else they've pounded the gym treadmills when it wasn't.
They aim to drum up £1 per mile and a deadline of September 1. So far they’ve covered 2,433 miles with £2,145 in the coffers.
The ship is now on her way home from her first overseas port visit in Gibraltar following a spring of work-up, including the first F-35 Lightning jet aboard, and completing Operational Sea Training.
To support the fundraiser, visit: http://ow.ly/Ppsp50FtTRX