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Katherine Jenkins visits HMS Iron Duke

30 January 2017
Best-selling opera singer and champion of the Forces Katherine Jenkins brought colour and culture to HMS Iron Duke on a cold, sullen afternoon in Portsmouth.

The Welsh songstress spent a day in the Home of the Navy, dropping in on the command building on Whale Island, where she performed for some of the 1,000 staff, before making the short trip to the city’s naval base to meet the crew of the frigate.

Ninety-six men and women – about half the ship’s company – grouped in Iron Duke’s hangar for a quick snap with Katherine before they ran through their recent six-month stint with NATO around northern Europe.

The singer was given access all areas, watching a combat demonstration in the operations room, chatting with engineers in the engine control room and chefs in the galley.

It was a pleasure and a delight to be able to host Katherine Jenkins on-board Iron Duke

Commander Steve Banfield RN

She also chatted with crew in the mess decks to learn about the strains long periods away place on Forces families and the sacrifices they make.

The 36-year-old’s visit was organised by the British Forces Foundation, a charity which aims to boost and maintain the morale of Service personnel – with the presence of big names like the singer, who’s sold more than four million CDs, helping to raise the profile of the military and what it does.

Before departing, she thanked and praised the sailors for their unstinting efforts – which will soon resume.

Iron Duke is undergoing a spot of maintenance before returning to sea to conduct maritime security operations around the UK.

“It was a pleasure and a delight to be able to host Katherine Jenkins on-board Iron Duke,” said the frigate’s Commanding Officer Commander Steve Banfield.

“She was visiting this ship in her role as an avid supporter of the British Forces Foundation.

“My team really enjoyed the visit and she took the time to speak to as many people as possible. Her visit will be remembered long into the future.”

Just for good measure, the frigate also found herself hosting Caroline Nokes, MP for Romsey and Southampton North, who dropped in on the ship with the director of the Naval Families Federation, Anna Wright.

The politician was on a fact-finding mission to learn more about Royal Navy operations and the effects they have on sailors, their families and friends, plus the welfare support personnel receive during long periods at sea.

“Both met several members of my ship’s company to gain an insight into the lived experience of life in the Royal Navy and my team really enjoyed the opportunity to tell their stories of serving in the RN,” said Cdr Banfield.

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