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HMS Diamond is all ship-shape.

Byline: Ben Eccleston News reporter ben.eccleston@trinitymirror.com

THE crew of Royal Navy warship HMS Diamond had their feet back on dry land as they were granted 'Freedom of Entry' to Coventry yesterday.

The sun shone on the city centre as scores of sailors marched through the streets before being presented with the illustrious honour by city leaders.

Led by their Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Alexander Meyer, the crew paraded from Gosford Street to the council house where the Lord Mayor of Coventry, Coun Hazel Noonan, inspected the guard along with special guest, Commander Andy Ingham, who is a former Commander of HMS Diamond.

The deputy leader of the council, Coun Phil Townshend, then read the Deed of Privilege and presented the Freedom Scroll to Commander Ingham.

Among the lines of smartly-clad sailors marching through the city was one beaming Coventry lad, Ben Wright.

The 25-year-old from Longford joined the navy six years ago and has been part of the HMS Diamond crew for the past 12 months.

Ben, a former Foxford School pupil, said: "It has been phenomenal for myself and there is an immense sense of pride that I feel today.

"It was great to see everyone from Coventry coming out and cheering for us. Everyone here seems very here seems very Eproud of the ship's company and we are proud to be affiliated with Coventry."

The ship's company also received a blessing on the steps of Coventry Cathedral, from The Very Reverend John Witcombe, before ending the occasion with a salute to the Lord Mayor and the official party in Broadgate.

Deputy council leader Coun Phil Townshend said: "It was a great honour to be able to read out the Deed of Privilege and we are all incredibly proud of the service that the crew of HMS Diamond give to the country and their particular links with Coventry. "It's been a fantastic day and a day that everyone in Coventry should celebrate."

Lt Cdr Alexander Meyer said: "It has been a wonderful day and a very special privilege for us, and in particular the crew, as we spend a lot of time away all around the world and it is great that we can visit those who support us when we come home."

HMS Diamond The present ship is the 13th HMS |Diamond to serve in the Royal Navy The vessel measures 152.4m in length and |weighs 8,000 tonnes, and can reach speeds of more than 30 knots | Among the ship's vast array of |weaponry is a Sea Viper anti-air missile system, eight 7.62mm machine guns and a Lynx helicopter fitted with anti-ship missiles and Stingray torpedoes | Coventry was last associated with a Royal Navy ship in 1988, when HMS Coventry was granted Freedom of the City.

CAPTION(S):

The crew of HMS |Diamond march through Coventry city centre

Lord Mayor Hazel Noonan, Engineer | Ben Wright, commanding officer Alexander Meyer and deputy council leader Coun Phil Townshend as HMS Diamond was given the Freedom of Coventry

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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 17, 2014
Words:503
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