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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 February 2006, 18:32 GMT
Warship launch Pride of the Clyde
By Alex Robertson
BBC Scotland news website

Clydebuilt was once a world-renowned name, synonymous with quality and a shipbuilding benchmark.

Ivy and Audrey Williams
Shipbuilder's daughters Ivy and Audrey Williams are launch veterans

The launch of the UK's most powerful warship in this shipbuilding heartland marks a return to the glory days and signals for many a promising future.

Thousands attended the emotional and enthralling launch in Scotstoun and as HMS Daring sailed some reflected on past glories in a century of shipbuilding.

At its peak the industry employed more than 100,000 men and supported communities from Clydebank to Partick and Govan.

Sisters Audrey and Ivy Williams' father worked in the shipyards in the golden era of the early 20th century.

The pensioners from Dumbarton first attended a launch as teenage schoolgirls.

The Clyde should be at the forefront of shipbuilding and like HMS Daring at the cutting edge
Shipbuilder Ian Cameron

They witnessed the launch of the QE2, countless others and now HMS Daring.

Audrey said: "It's impressive, it always is.

"We've been many times before as my father worked in John Brown's shipyard.

"He would throw his bowler hat away at the launch and buy a new one for the next one.

"It's a great, great joy and a Navy launch is emotional and meaningful."

Ivy added: "The atmosphere is very good, it was always gay and jolly, a real celebration.

"This is a very proud moment."

Their father retired by the time shipbuilding hit a crisis.

"We are lucky to be here," added Ivy.

Behind Ivy and Audrey hundreds of schoolchildren gathered, holding balloons and waving flags, screaming beneath a giant screen.

The Cameron family
The Cameron family represent two generations of shipbuilders
Navy veterans and shipbuilders of all trades mingled with children and families from communities entrenched in the history of the Clyde.

Welder Derek Cameron and his wife Nicola, both 27, witnessed the launch with children Lewis, two, and Holly, six months.

Derek followed in his father Ian's footsteps into the shipbuilding industry.

He said: "It's a proud moment, brilliant and a great step for the future.

"This is a positive time, there is a sense of achievement.

"You can see something you've built by hand through sweat and blood."

Nicola added: "You get a lot of enjoyment, a tear comes to your eye."

'No stability'

Derek's father, Ian Cameron, 50, said he has worked "man and boy" in the shipyards and called for more government support.

He said: "The main reason we are here is to give our support.

"We don't want to see shipbuilding closing on the Clyde but there's no stability.

"The workers need something back.

"The Clyde should be at the forefront of shipbuilding and like HMS Daring at the cutting edge."

When the moment arrived and the Countess of Wessex blessed the ship the two-hour build-up reached a crescendo of cheers.

It was Clydebuilt, they said, and for a moment a return to the glory days.

Thousands cheer on warship launch
01 Feb 06 |  Scotland
Daring launch good news for Clyde
01 Feb 06 |  Scotland
Navy warship production under way
26 Aug 04 |  Scotland

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