HMS Severn to Play Central Part in Royal British Legion’s Poppy Day Launch

HMS Severn to Play Central Part in Royal British Legion’s Poppy Day Launch

The Royal Navy’s offshore patrol vessel HMS Severn is in London until November 4th, helping to play a central part in the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Day launch.

HMS Severn provided the backdrop on October 31 for London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, to start this year’s poppy day with the sale of the first poppy on board – he arrived via one of the ship’s small RIB sea boats in West India Dock.

Severn’s sailors take to the streets of London  on Nov 1, along with servicemen from all over the country and Royal British Legion volunteers, to start fundraising with the aim of raising £1million in a single day.

During her week-long visit to West India Dock, and in addition to the Poppy Day launch, the ship’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Marcus Hember and his crew are hosting an official reception for invited guests and will conduct a number of pre-arranged tours with schools, colleges and youth groups.

One of the highlights of her visit is on Saturday, November 3 when the ship will be open to the general public.

Londoners can go aboard this state-of¬-the-art patrol vessel between 10am and 4pm and learn more about life in today’s Royal Navy. Entry is free and there will be a left-luggage (including buggies) facility.

Among a packed programme of events taking place during Severn’s stay in London was the ship’s official reception for invited guests and dignitaries (Weds Oct 31), when a ceremonial sunset was played by a Royal Marines Band bugler, and the ship’s 10th anniversary of launch lunch on Friday, with Severn’s Lady Sponsor, Mrs Felicity Guild among the guests.

Lt Cdr Hember said:

“My ship’s company, alongside personnel from the wider Portsmouth Flotilla and the Maritime Warfare School, are looking forward to representing the Royal Navy in London for the launch of the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Day.

“We are honoured to be involved in launching this year’s fundraising efforts for a cause that is so close to all of our hearts.

“We will also be delighted to welcome the public onboard on Saturday, November 3 and I hope as many local people as possible take the opportunity.”

HMS Severn is the second of the Royal Navy’s three River Class offshore patrol vessels. Built at Woolston in Southampton by Vosper Thornycroft Limited and launched on December 4 2002, she was accepted into service in the Royal Navy in 2003.

Alongside HMS Tyne and HMS Mersey, they form the Fishery Protection Squadron, the oldest squadron in the Royal Navy. HMS Clyde, the fourth of the class, is permanently based in the Falkland Islands.

HMS Severn can spend in excess of 320 days at sea each year conducting maritime security and constabulary operations on behalf of a range of government agencies, primarily fishery protection in UK waters on behalf of the Marine Management Organisation.

Day to day co-operation with the UK Border Agency and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is routine, as well as the conduct of more traditional military tasks when required.

Naval Today Staff, November 2, 2012; Image: Royal Navy