HMS Montrose, a Royal Navy Type 23 frigate, arrived in London for the first time this week and is now alongside in West India Dock conducting a number of engagements and capability demonstrations. Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal visited the warship to launch a charity auction hosted by the Worshipful Company of Distillers. Princess Anne is the Patron of The Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and this year the Distillers have chosen to support the charity. 

After tours demonstrating the significant war-fighting and operational capabilities of the ship to groups of visitors, HRH The Princess Royal was formally welcomed on board and was introduced to the guests on the flight deck. The Assistant Weapon Engineer Officer, Lieutenant Matt Freeman, said: “When I learnt the ceremonial pipes as a Sea Cadet, I never imagined I would be taking charge of the proceedings for a Royal visit.  It was lovely to meet HRH.”

Photo: Commander James Parkin, Commanding Officer HMS Montrose and the Lord Lieutenant of London, Sir David Brewer greet HRH The Princess Royal as she arrived on board. Following immediately behind, Princess Anne’s husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, is coincidently a former CO of HMS Montrose himself.

After Princess Anne spoke individually to over 150 guests, she gave a speech to launch the event after which the Commanding Officer, Commander James Parkin, on behalf of HMS Montrose presented her with a cheque for £8,700 raised by the Ship’s Company during their recent seven month deployment to the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean. Fundraising activities included a 10,000 kick “kickathon” lead by the Taekwondo team, a 24hr continuous run around the upper deck by the Royal Marines, and an auction held in the Red Sea with lots as diverse as acting as “Captain for the day”, first over the gangway on return from deployment and even a chance to “tattoo the Captain”. .

Ever versatile, the ship’s helicopter hangar then fulfilled the role of auction house and with the gavel in action a different form of the charity auction began.  Items sold included a rare bottle of 27 year old Talisker whisky, a seat at the Captain’s table for luncheon on board HMS MONTROSE, and a tour of the Thames Distillery in Clapham. In total over £10,000 was raised from the auction with proceeds from the evening going to the RNRMC. Commander James Parkin, Commanding Officer of HMS Montrose, and trustee of the RNRMC said: “I’m so pleased that such a keen interest was shown in the items which were auctioned off last night, and that so much was raised for this worthy charity.”

The ship remains in London for a few further days and will conducting tours for London-based youth groups, schools and members of the local Tower Hamlets community.