Borough sailor to spend Christmas on a Philipines typhoon mission

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A borough sailor is set to miss spending Christmas with his family after being sent on a mercy mission to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

Daniel Ward, 21, from Wallsend, was on board HMS Illustrious when the carrier was diverted to the Philippines.

The trainee engineering technician had been on his way back to the UK from the Middle East, but he is now expected to spend the festive season helping to distribute life-saving aid in the disaster zone.

It is thought to have been one of the most powerful typhoons ever to hit land, with winds of over 195mph and a powerful storm surge.

There are still hundreds of people missing, according to national figures, including some Britons.

Daniel’s dad Keith, from Hadrian Lodge West, Wallsend, said: “Julie and I as parents are very proud of Daniel doing this.

“These words are echoed by all of the family.

“We will miss him dearly at Christmas.”

The vessel will replace HMS Daring, already been deployed to the archipelago, to provde aid to those who need it following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan.

The carrier’s helicopters could be used to airlift food and water to survivors stranded in remote parts of the island nation.

The ship also has the technology to convert sea water into drinking water.

After his initial training at shore bases HMS Raleigh and HMS Sultan, Daniel joined HMS Illustrious a year and a half ago, following in his father and grandfather’s footsteps.

Daniel’s grandfather worked on the ship, and his father also worked on it for more than four years while it was being built at Swan Hunters in Wallsend.