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Carrier crew pound the deck to help Caribbean island

Members of the crew running for charity
12 July 2021
The roar of jet engines and throb of rotor blades on HMS Prince of Wales has been replaced by puffing and panting of sailors.

Nearly three dozen crew on the aircraft carrier 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 badly effected 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 populace remains in temporary accommodation while one third of the nation’s farming crops have been destroyed.

Running the distance for St Vincent seemed a useful way to help the families of our shipmates and stay fit
Members of the crew running for charity

Writer Tom Lloyd, HMS Prince of Wales

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 2½ laps of the sprawling flight deck when available, or else they've pounded the gym treadmills when it wasn't – with the goal of £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. 

You can show your support at: http://ow.ly/Ppsp50FtTRX

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