Ship’s town links are a shore thing

IPSWICH town centre came to a standstill yesterday lunchtime as its affiliated warship was given the Freedom of the Borough.

The crew of HMS Quorn marched through the town as part of the celebrations to mark the historic honour.

The vessel is a mine-hunter and was paying its third visit to the town – it became the town’s adopted ship after the frigate HMS Grafton was decommissioned and sold to the Chilean navy in 2006.

Officer commanding HMS Quorn, Lt Cdr Jason Humphries, said the honour meant a great deal to the entire ship’s crew, adding: “Ipswich has a great seafaring tradition going back to the 6th Century and we are delighted to be able to carry forward the links between the town and the Royal Navy.”

As well as HMS Quorn’s company, the band of the Royal Marines led the parade and soldiers from the Army Air Corps joined the parade along with cadets from all three services.

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Ipswich mayor Jane Chambers took the salute and echoed Lt Cdr Humphries’ comments about the town’s strong naval links.

She said: “We have a very strong tradition – Lord Nelson was High Steward of Ipswich and we have links going back over the centuries.

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“We are proud of HMS Quorn and I am delighted to be able to convey the Freedom of the Borough on you here today.”

Before yesterday’s formal ceremony, residents had the chance to visit HMS Quorn at its berth in the Wet Dock.

Hundreds took the chance to look over the ship on Saturday – it will be the last chance to see over the mine-hunter before it joins the flotilla patrolling the Gulf later this year.

HMS Quorn will have a three-year posting and is unlikely to return to Ipswich before 2015.

Lt Cdr Humphries said: “We are very proud of our links with the town and everyone is very pleased to have this honour before we leave for the Gulf.”

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