Statement from Cllr Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, regarding the decommissioning of HMS Ark Royal:
Cllr Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“HMS Ark Royal has a huge place in Leeds’ heart- this is a devastating loss and a body-blow to the city’s immense pride in what is a long-standing and very warm relationship.
“Leeds and Ark Royal have enjoyed the closest of connections since the city “adopted” the vessel a week before it was torpedoed and sunk in 1941. The ordinary people of the city threw their weight behind a mammoth effort to fund its replacement.
“They did the city- and the country- incredibly proud by raising an astounding £9 million and our relationship has gone from strength to strength ever since.
“Ark Royal was awarded the Freedom of the City of Leeds in 1973, at a ceremony attended by the late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The ship’s company have invoked their right to march through the streets of the city every couple of years since.
“This is a hugely-popular ceremony, one which we were due to host again in the next six months, and our Lord Mayor, Cllr Jim McKenna, is due to attend a ceremony next month to mark the 25th anniversary of the current ship’s commissioning.
“Leeds is no ordinary city and Ark Royal is no ordinary ship. Our civic life will be the poorer for its passing.”
For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office, 0113- 224 3335