ROYAL Navy sailors with a North Tyneside connection have made the most of their time off by helping villagers in Africa renovate a community centre.
During a break from anti-piracy and maritime security operations off the east coast of Africa, 25 volunteers from the frigate HMS Northumberland headed to the Kigamboni Community Centre while their ship was berthed in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The sailors helped to install windows and doors in the community centre building, repaired fencing and built ‘hugle beds’, which will be used to grow vegetables.
The ship’s captain, Commander Paddy Dowsett, said: “Our visit to Dar es Salaam has been a real success.
“Not only has it reaffirmed and strengthened the commitment the United Kingdom had to Tanzania, it has also allowed my team to give something to the local community.”
In an exchange of gifts, HMS Northumberland donated 85 football shirts, a rugby ball, football and Northumberland crest and commemorative coin.
The ship was built by Swan Hunter in Wallsend in 1992 and is affiliated with the Royal National Lifeboat Institute in Tynemouth.
It is still in its early stages of a patrol of the Indian Ocean and is due to return to its base in Plymouth in the spring.