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Mersey and marines musicians join Eurovision celebrations in Liverpool

11 May 2023
HMS Mersey and Royal Marines musicians are in Liverpool today for Eurovision – and to underscore Britain’s support for Ukraine.

The patrol ship arrived on the Mersey yesterday, one strand of the UK military’s support for – and involvement in – the massive musical festival.

Armed Forces personnel are helping to ensure the safe and smooth running of the event – 50 personnel are working side-by-side with Merseyside Police.

HMS Mersey is just a stone’s throw from the ‘Eurovision village’ with sailors taking part in events ashore and onboard.

They’ll be joined by the Royal Marines Corps of Drums – who on Sunday helped bring the Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle to a spectacular conclusion, performing alongside Take That, and will add military precision, pomp and ceremony to proceedings with a number of short performances onboard Mersey.

Beyond the musical celebration, the event is an opportunity for the UK’s military – and Eurovision fans in general – to show their support for, and solidarity with, Ukraine under the overarching theme of ‘United by Music’.

Liverpool is hosting the song contest in place of last year’s winners given the ongoing threat posed by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

There is a strong Ukrainian theme to Mersey’s involvement. The ship’s chefs will be cooking traditional fare. And nightly HMS Mersey will be bathed in Ukrainian national colours – yellow and blue – courtesy of spotlights.

And the ship will host a ‘Power Up’ networking event aimed at Ukrainians living in or evacuated to Northern England to gain employment, joining forces with the Power Collective CIC and Northern Power Women, led by Honorary Captain Simone Roche. A second ‘Power Up’ will host Liverpool John Moores STEM students and URNU cadets to build confidence and raise aspiration whilst championing diversity, inclusion and social mobility.

The fact that HMS Mersey will be berthed in the heart of Liverpool, adjacent to the fan zone, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the buzz and vibe around the city will be amazing.

Marine Engineer Tom Horan

Mersey arrived at the Cruise Liner Terminal berth last night after a fortnight patrolling home waters.

“It is great to be back in our spiritual home away from Portsmouth and back on the River Mersey,” said the ship’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander James Mitchell.

“The excitement and build up to the Eurovision event is incredible and we’re looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere. This year’s event has a significant focus on Ukraine and it is right that the UK and her Armed Forces, demonstrates our solidarity and support for the people of Ukraine.

“As a ship we will be ensuring we keep a Ukrainian focus on all of our activities: floodlighting in Ukrainian colours, hosting members of the local Ukrainian community onboard and also having a Ukrainian-themed menu for the evening, are but a few of the activities we have planned.”

Marine Engineer Tom Horan is the biggest Eurovision fan aboard the ship.

“The fact that HMS Mersey will be berthed in the heart of Liverpool, adjacent to the fan zone, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the buzz and vibe around the city will be amazing.

“Eurovision is a great event which brings different people and nations together and demonstrates the power of music in uniting everyone, no matter what their differences.

“2022’s performances from Kalush Stefania and Sam Ryder will take some topping but I am looking forward to seeing Sweden’s and Finland’s entries. Having visited both countries and exercised and trained with their Navies earlier this year, we have a good connection and other than the UK, I would like to see one of them win.”

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