Crew from HMS Prince of Wales on a 500 mile in five days charity ride from Rosyth to Portsmouth have made a pit-stop in Bristol, one of the ship’s two affiliated cities.
The 12 strong peloton refuelled ahead of the final 100 mile stretch of their trip with a special breakfast at City Hall on Wednesday (12 June). They were invited by the Lord Mayor and Lord Lieutenant of Bristol and joined by representatives from the University of the West of England and other members of the HMS Prince of Wales Affiliation Board.
The “Build to Base Port” ride is aiming to raise over £5000 for the Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and Tom Harrison House. The team’s fundraising is linked to a bigger charity push to raise £100,000 before the ship sets sail from Rosyth in September 2019.
Councillor Jos Clark, Lord Mayor of Bristol, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome members of the crew of HMS Prince of Wales to City Hall and to have a chance to do our little bit to prepare them for the final leg of their journey. Our city’s affiliation with the ship and crew of HMS Prince of Wales is important to Bristol and I welcome any opportunity to spend time with members of the ship’s company. I wish them well on the final stage of their impressive journey.”
Peaches Golding OBE, Lord Lieutenant of Bristol, said: “The visit of the sailors during their 500 mile, five-day charity bike ride demonstrates the growing strength of the affiliation between HMS Prince of Wales and the city of Bristol. Over the coming years, members of her crew will visit the city’s schools, sports events and businesses to cement this latest maritime honour.”
Bristol was announced as one of two affiliated cities during the ship’s naming ceremony at its current home of Rosyth in September 2017. Liverpool is the other city affiliated with the ship.
The ship’s white ensign is on display in Bristol Cathedral and was blessed by The Very Rev’d Dr David Hoyle, the Dean of Bristol on 6 April this year. Today’s visiting sailors were the first of their crew to see the ensign in situ since its blessing.
The HMS Prince of Wales is a state of the art carrier and the second of the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, following her sister ship, the HMS Queen Elizabeth.
The 65,000 tonne ship, along with HMS Queen Elizabeth, is the largest and most powerful ever built by the Royal Navy. The 280 metre long ship – longer than eight Cabot Towers laid down end to end – has a range of 10,000 nautical miles and speeds in excess of 25 knots. The futuristic design will see the carrier be capable of carrying up to 36 F-35B Lightning II stealth fighters and a complement of Merlin helicopters.
Lieutenant Riley, who is riding in the mixed team of officers and ratings, said: “The team has welcomed the challenge of cycling the full length of the country from our ship’s birthplace of Rosyth to her home port of Portsmouth, especially as it gives us the chance to raise money for two excellent charities along the way. Being able to visit our affiliated city of Bristol has been the icing on the cake as we look forward to a long and productive relationship with this amazing city in the coming months and years.”
Anyone wishing to donate to the team’s efforts can do so by visiting their fundraising page online.