AROUND 11,000 people visited the Royal Navy helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious after she threw open her doors to the public again over the weekend.
Long queues formed on both Saturday and yesterday at Liverpool’s cruise liner terminal as people took what could be their last opportunity to visit the huge helicopter carrier before she is withdrawn from service next year.
HMS Illustrious, nicknamed “Lusty” by her crew, had around 6,500 visitors on Saturday, and another 4,500 yesterday.
Crowds took advantage of fine weather to have a rare glimpse inside Britain’s last aircraft carrier before she departs at around 4.30pm today.
Among the thousands who made the trip yesterday were Liam Daniels, from Crosby, who went with wife Jenny and two children, Hannah, 11, and Evie, four.
Mr Daniels said: “We made the effort to come down because it was the last time the ship was going to be here. It was fantastic and the kids loved it. It was great to be able to see the Liverpool waterfront and Wirral from a new angle.
Geoff Shoham and wife Jennifer, from Woolton, visited with their daughter Amanda, who had travelled from London with her three sons.
Mr Shoham said: “It’s such a rare opportunity to be able to see inside an aircraft carrier.
“I was impressed by the sheer size of it and the landing stage for the helicopters was amazing.”
The visit by Illustrious acted as a taster for the major celebrations taking place at Liverpool’s waterfront over the weekend of May 24 to 27 to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic.
Anyone with relatives who took part in the campaign is asked to contact shipping correspondent Peter Elson at PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L69 3EB, or email firstname.lastname@example.org