Apology after children barred from warship visit

Lyme harbourmaster organises mackerel fishing trip to make up for their disappointment

Lyme Regis Harbourmaster Grahame Forshaw has apologised to a number of families prevented from going aboard HMS Edinburgh at the weekend.

He said officials had failed to warn them about rules preventing children under 10 being allowed on the type 42 destroyer during her three-day visit.

As a result he said some families who bought tickets had to be contacted at the harbour to be told that they could not visit the ship.

He said: “The reason why the age restriction was made was because the visit out to the ship meant that there had to be a physical transfer from one vessel to another.

“Prior to HMS Edinburgh coming to Lyme Regis, a risk assessment had been done, and as a result of that it was decreed that all visitors to the ship had to be physically fit and over the age of ten.

“Those 270 people that did visit the ship I am sure will confirm that the crossing from one craft to another and climbing up the steep and narrow stairs on board was not the easiest of tasks. Nevertheless, we were not informed of the restriction regarding the minimum age until 48 hours before the opening of the ship.

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“I do not believe that anybody deliberately misinformed anyone with malice - it was a genuine mistake and one of those unfortunate things that can trip any of us up from time to time.

“The visit of HMS Edinburgh has been a tremendous success. The gig race, the football match, the naming of the Jubilee Pavilion parade as well as the open ship has been magnificent for the town and I am just sorry that some youngsters may have felt that they were left out.

“In order to make up for this misunderstanding, and in some way to put things right, I have decided to lay on something special for those children that were unable to enjoy a tour of HMS Edinburgh.

“What I have done is enlisted the help of some of the Mackerel fishing boatmen, and I am going to organise a special trip out afloat plus an activity on the beach which I hope that they will enjoy just as much.

“We will wait a short while for the weather to improve but in order to get something together if the parents of those youngsters who couldn’t get aboard could contact my office then I can issue further details in due course.

“I do hope that the activity we plan can make up for any disappointment caused.”