Songs of praise for Lancaster’s crew

Children from an orphanage in Togo sang their thanks to a group of sailors from HMS Lancaster who revamped their home.

Fifteen personnel from the Type 23 went to the orphanage in Lome during the ship’s four-day visit to the West African country.

Armed with vats of paint, brushes and rollers the group were tasked with brightening up the orphanage, home to abandoned children, from babies to young adults.

As the group stopped for lunch, a chorus of song erupted from the children who beamed as they sang, holding their paintbrushes aloft.  

They smile and laugh whilst living in the toughest of circumstances.

Midshipman Stephen Fotherby

Once the painting had finished, the sailors handed out chocolate bars, football shirts and fruit before the group headed to the local football pitch for a kick about.

The bare-footed youngsters displayed some deft touches to win 2-0 and delighted in the support they were shown from those who sang with vigour on the sidelines.

Midshipman Stephen Fotherby said: “Helping those who find themselves in less fortunate circumstances than our own, through no fault of their own, was humbling and enlightening. They smile and laugh whilst living in the toughest of circumstances.”

During her time in Togo, Lancaster hosted a number of training events, including a briefing on counter narcotics operations to Togolese Navy staff.

The ship’s Royal Marines Boarding Team delivered a three-day training package to 15 Togo sailors and 13 from Benin’s navy.

The ship’s football team took the field against a local Navy team, with the game finishing in an eventful 2-2 draw in the blazing African sun. 

Lancaster also hosted an evening reception and capability tours on board, attended by HM Ambassador Jon Benjamin, as well as several local dignitaries and members of the Togolese Navy. The evening ended with a traditional ceremonial sunset.

Lancaster is due back in her home port of Portsmouth in December.