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Schoolchildren become shipmates 4 July 2007

Kewaigue School Year 6 pupils were invited to take a guided tour of the Royal Navy minehunter HMS Bangor on Monday.

The ship - affiliated to the town of the same name in Northern Ireland - is in Douglas as part of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines' official visit to Tynwald Day.

Head teacher Mark Stevens said the invitation came via his cousin, the ship's Petty Officer, known as 'Shakey' Stevens.Kewaigue School visits HMS Bangor

'This, being too good an opportunity to miss, we immediately accepted and 20 excited would-be sailors duly arrived dockside,' he said. 'They were shown around the 53 metre long ship and were even allowed to sit in the 30mm gun turret.

'The ship is a state of the art minesweeper and is made completely of reinforced plastic. There are no metal fixtures or fittings as this would send out a magnetic signature to any mine that the ship would be intending to destroy.

'The children spent a couple of hours on the ship and asked many questions, to which the crew were more than happy to respond.'

HMS Bangor is hosting visits from civil dignitaries, others schools and youth groups as part of six days' celebrations.

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