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HMS Hurworth meets the man on a very long swim

24 August 2018
HMS Hurworth, one of the Royal Navy’s minehunters based in Portsmouth, met up with Lewis Pugh – the UN Patron of the Oceans – while on his Long Swim challenge off the coast of Eastbourne.

Lewis - an endurance swimmer and ocean advocate - is working towards completing a mammoth 530km swim from Cornwall to Dover as part of the worldwide Action for Oceans campaign.

Pugh, himself the son of a Royal Navy Surgeon Admiral, set himself the challenge in order to raise awareness of the impact of pollution on our ocean’s ecosystems.

HMS Hurworth, which was fresh from escorting Russian warship Admiral Makarov through the English Channel, arrived as Lewis finished the latest leg of his endeavour in Rye Bay, near Eastbourne.

After a quick swim alongside the ship - much to the delight of the crew - Lewis had a ride in the seaboat and was welcomed on board for a well-earned hot shower and freshen up.

Spending time touring the ship, he was introduced to the crew, who are nicknamed ‘The Fighting Aces’. The crew explained some of the systems and equipment onboard the Royal Navy’s Mine Counter Measure Vessels which are used to locate and destroy explosive ordinance in our seas and oceans. 

I would like to thank the Royal Navy on behalf of the United Nations for the important role they undertake in the world

Lewis Pugh

The visit provided Lewis with a valuable insight into the Royal Navy’s role in protecting the waters around the UK and across the world with tasks including fishery protection and environmental protection.

Lewis said: “I would like to thank the Royal Navy on behalf of the United Nations for the important role they undertake in the world.

"Especially their commitment in ensuring sea routes are kept open and safe, providing humanitarian aid, fishery protection and in particular the environmental protection work they undertake in the southern oceans. “

“My father was in the Royal Navy and whilst there have been changes, during my visit its clear the Navy has maintained its strong traditions and ethos.”

One particular fan of Lewis was Able Seaman (Diver) Richard Chumbley – who is well used to swimming both above and below the waves. He said: “Having read Pugh’s book ’21 Yaks’ I felt very inspired and it was such a great privilege to meet him in person.

"We talked during lunch about the challenges he has faced and his efforts to raise awareness of oceanic pollution.  I was able to wish him all the best for his future endeavours”

Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Mark Heward, said: ““Lewis is obviously a great advocate of the sea and a strong supporter of the Royal Navy’s operations across the world. It is always sad to see the impact of human pollution on the maritime environment.” 

 “I was humbled to meet a man who is using his strength, determination and bravery in such a way to raise awareness of the important issues facing our maritime environment.”

Lewis added: “I would like to say a huge thank you to the Royal Navy for supporting me when I am a week away from making Dover.  Meeting with HMS Hurworth has given me a huge boost to finish my swim.”

Just before departing, the ‘Fighting Aces’ had a photo with Lewis before he embarked onto the seaboat and to resume the final stages of his swim to Dover.

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