HMS Illustrious returns home for 30th anniversary - Video

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A ROYAL Navy ship has returned home to mark her 30th anniversary.

The HMS Illustrious berthed alongside Northumbria Quay in North Shields on Wednesday, February 29, for the start of a four-day visit.

The helicopter carrier was built in Wallsend’s Swan Hunter yard starting in 1976 and went into service in June 1981.

Although the 22,000-tonne ship was not open to the general public for safety reasons, sea cadets and school pupils were given a guided tours.

Captain Martin Connell, the commanding officer of HMS Illustrious, said: “The links we enjoy with the area stretch far back to the very yards where Swan Hunter workers first laid her hull.”

After leaving North Shields, the carrier will deploy to inside the Arctic Circle for eight weeks of cold weather training.