FOND farewells were paid once again to a Tyne-built warship refurbished in her home town and sent back to sea
HMS Bristol recently underwent a major refit at the hands of former shipyard workers from Hebburn, who first helped build her more than 40 years ago.
The 142-day project, which took place in Hebburn, South Tyneside, saw scores of ex-shipbuilding apprentices reunite to restore the Type 82 destroyer they built in 1969.
They were forced to part with their labour of love for a second time on Saturday, when the 7,000 tonne, Falklands War veteran made her way out of the Tyne with a new lease of life.
The multi-million pound repair work, which involved new decking, steel repairs and the installation of a new fire detection system, will extend her working life as a Royal Navy training vessel by at least 10 years.
Electrical foreman Ed Smith, 62, helped build the ship as a young apprentice and was part of the team at A&P Tyne charged with the task of reviving the old sea dog.
Mr Smith, of Walkerville, in Newcastle, said: “Of all the ships I’ve worked on, the Bristol is probably the one that means the most.
“I’ve never met a person yet who’s worked on a ship – especially a warship because you spend years on them – who isn’t proud of what they’ve helped build.
“Launches were exciting because the yards used to open the ship up once they were finished so the men could take their families round and show off their handiwork.
“There used to be queues lined up outside the yard gates.