Page last updated at 11:19 GMT, Sunday, 8 June 2008 12:19 UK

Ark Royal crew march through city

HMS Ark Royal
The aircraft carrier is staying in Liverpool for four days

Crew of the Royal Navy's flagship HMS Ark Royal have marched through Leeds in celebration of the 35th anniversary of being granted the Freedom of the City.

About 250 members of the ship's company exercised their right to march through the city centre.

The ship's links to Leeds go back to the 1940s, when the city paid for a replacement for the third Ark Royal, which sank in 1941.

The Ark Royal is berthed in Liverpool and was open to the public on Saturday.

Before Sunday's march, commanding officer Captain Mike Mansergh said the crew was delighted to be spending a few days on home shores.

Company 'excited'

He said: "HMS Ark Royal is ready in all respects to deploy anywhere in the world to support a wide range of missions, and we are training hard to stay at the highest levels of operational readiness.

"We remain committed to maintaining an insurance policy ready to react to any problem worldwide."

He added: "We are delighted to have the opportunity to pay a visit to Liverpool and Leeds, our affiliated city.

"The ship's company is very excited about their visit."

The current Ark Royal was built by Swan Hunter at Wallsend in 1978 and launched by the Queen Mother.

HMS Ark Royal berths in Liverpool
06 Jun 08 |  Merseyside
Ark Royal returns to River Tyne
08 Feb 08 |  England
City's Ark Royal visit cancelled
22 Aug 07 |  Merseyside
'Full steam ahead' for terminal
25 Jan 06 |  Merseyside


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