Sunderland’s adopted warship arrives in the River Wear for weekend stay

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HUNDREDS of well-wishers turned out to give HMS Ocean a Wearside welcome.

Sunderland’s adopted warship headed into the River Wear on schedule at 2.30pm, after pilot boats manoeuvred into position to bring her in stern first.

She has taken up her position at Corporation Quay, opposite the National Glass Centre, where still be will be until Monday.

More than 100 Sea Cadets and volunteers lined the deck of the ship after joining her at near the Royal Naval Base at Faslane in Scotland on Monday.

Today marks the eighth time it has visited Sunderland.

Among those to watch the vessel, which at 208 metres long and some 22,500 tonnes displacement is one of the largest vessels to visit the river, was Dorothy Lynn, a retired hairdresser and Littlewoods store worker.

Sunderland's adopted ship HMS Ocean enter's the River Wear

Sunderland's adopted ship HMS Ocean enter's the River Wear

She said: “Everything it’s been before, I said I would come down and see it, so I’ve come down and made the effort, even if it’s a bit chilly.

“It’s been getting bigger and bigger as it comes in.

“I think it’s very good to have it and it keeps up our links with the Armed Forces.”

John Green, 57, from Mount Pleasant, said: “I came down because it’s Sunderland’s ship.

It’s not the first time I’ve seen it and I think it should be here more often.

John Green

“It’s not the first time I’ve seen it and I think it should be here more often.”

Molebusters boss Neil Marsh, 58, from Roker, also stood by the Bungalow Cafe as the ship moved through the pier heads.

“I came down for my dinner and I just wondered what it was.

“As it came towards the harbour, it grew bigger and bigger and I saw it was a battleship.

“I thought it was great to see them all out on the deck.”

Tomorrow, more than 300 crew will march through the streets in a Freedom Parade, starting from the Civic Centre in Burdon Road at 11am.

They will be welcomed by the mayor Stuart Porthouse at the war memorial next to Mowbray Park, then follow a route of on to Fawcett Street, High Street West, Union Street, Market Square, Waterloo Place and Holmside.

The mayor will then take the salute again at the War Memorial Burdon Road at around 11.20am

The public will be welcome to visit the ship from 1pm to 6pm on Sunday and 11a, to 5pm on Monday.

Members of the ship’s crew will also be taking place in the Sunderland Half Marathon on Sunday.

The run will lead to some road closures in the city centre, with those heading for the ship advised to use Sunniside and St Mary’s car parks.