IT WAS a trip down memory lane for the mayor of Hartlepool when he visited Portsmouth.
He last went aboard HMS Warrior in 1985 as a six-year-old, when she was kept at the northern town.
Yesterday, as Hartlepool’s mayor, Stephen Akers-Belcher was in Portsmouth to learn about how to successfully promote regeneration and tourism.
He was given a tour of the Victorian ship before seeing HMS Victory and the Mary Rose Museum.
But it was Warrior which convinced the mayor to make the five-hour 636-mile journey to the south coast.
He said: ‘In Hartlepool, we’ve recently gone through a change in administration and we’re looking at regeneration.
‘One of the things we recognise is that Hartlepool borough needs to look outwards and learn from other people who are successful both in the tourist industry and also regeneration.
‘Portsmouth councillors are good examples of that and we hope to learn from them.
‘We met the leader of the council Gerald Vernon-Jackson and we also saw Lord Mayor Lynne Stagg.’
Mr Akers-Belcher added: ‘I was pleased that I was able to visit Portsmouth and HMS Warrior because it has a lot of important history with Hartlepool.
‘It was restored there and left in 1986 to be based in Portsmouth and there are a lot of people who are quite passionate about the Warrior, like myself.
‘I care very deeply about it being a young person growing up in Hartlepool seeing it being fantastically restored to how it is today.
‘So we decided to visit to have a look around and see the progress that has been made.
‘It was brilliant to have a look around and it is a fantastic feeling to see it again.
‘I like the top decks and I enjoyed seeing the regeneration process.’
Commander Ken Jones, the captain of HMS Warrior, added: ‘There is a lot of history of the ship between Portsmouth and Hartlepool so it’s great the mayor came to visit us.’