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HMS Iron Duke returns to Portsmouth

HMS Iron Duke returns to Portsmouth Credit: ITV news

HMS Iron Duke will return home to Portsmouth today after a six month tour of the South Atlantic. The ship and its 180 crew have covered more than 27,000 miles and visited eleven countries since they set off.

The ship has been conducting maritime security operations and providing support to British Overseas Territories in the region. She paid goodwill visits in the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, Namibia, South Africa, Panama, Haiti, Barbados and the Azores and also visited the Falkland Islands and South Georgia.

Iron Duke's Commanding Officer, Commander Thomas Tredray, said: "This has been a very successful deployment for HMS Iron Duke. We have represented the Royal Navy and the UK around the world, on the high seas and during a wide variety of port visits. The ship's company have achieved everything that has been asked of them and I am very proud of how well they have performed."

Roles included exercising with forces from Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria and France and hosting a UK Trade and Industry event in Lagos, Nigeria, on behalf of the Home Office. On patrol around the Falkland Islands the vessel visited several outlying settlements and conducted training with other British forces. Iron Duke hosted a conference on illegal immigration and the ship's company also got ashore to help local UN forces with several community regeneration projects.

During the deployment the ship has produced more than seven million litres of fresh water and the crew have eaten their way through 7,760 sausages and 1.5 tonnes of baked beans. And through a number of charity events on board, including horse racing, darts and whole-ship Cluedo, they raised more than £2,000 for various charities.

Chef Lewis Stafford, 26, one of nine chefs on board, said: "This has been the first deployment of my career, and I won't forget it anytime soon. It has been a great opportunity to really get stuck into my various job roles, hobbies and interests. In Guinea I took part in the outreach project where we painted a school and helped create a better learning environment for those who studied there. This was a very memorable and reflective experience."

Portsmouth Police bring Christmas cheer to city hospital

Police officers deliver gifts to children in hospital Credit: Hampshire Police

Portsmouth Neighbourhood Policing team has spread some Christmas cheer at a city hospital. The St Thomas Neighbourhood Policing team has been visiting children at the Queen Alexandra hospital to deliver some Christmas presents donated by local stores and businesses.

For the past few months the team has been dropping into local shops and asking them to donate some toys or gifts for young people who will be spending their Christmas staying in hospital. The team also visited The Elizabeth Foundation who offer support to preschool children with hearing loss and gave some gifts to children at the centre too.

NPT Sergeant Rob Sutton said: “Our team are really keen to do this every year. We hope that a few gifts will help to make the children's Christmas better. It’s great to see the their faces when we surprise them with gifts. Thank you to all the businesses who donated gifts.”

Zoe Neal, mother of two week old baby Ophelia said: "Thank you to Hampshire Constabulary for the wonderful Christmas gifts. The visit today was a fantastic surprise at such a difficult time for so many. It made such a difference, brightening up the lives of all the children and parents here in QA."

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Christmas homecoming for HMS Defender

HMS Defender arrives hom in time for the Christmas Credit: ITV Meridian

Hundreds of friends and family members have welcomed back HMS Defender - returning home to Portsmouth after a six month deployment.

The type-45 destroyer has been on operations in the Northern Gulf.

The ship has clocked up more than 35-thousand nautical miles since leaving the UK in June.

Crowds gather to welcome the crew home Credit: ITV Meridian

Hundreds expected in Portsmouth to welcome home HMS Defender

HMS Defender returns to Portsmouth Credit: ITV news

Hundreds of friends and family members will welcome back HMS Defender - returning home to Portsmouth after a six month deployment.

The type-45 destroyer has been on operations in the Northern Gulf. The ship has clocked up more than 35-thousand nautical miles since leaving the UK in June.

Family and friends will be joined by Portsmouth Military Wives Choir and the Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines Portsmouth.

The Type 45 destroyer's maiden deployment included maritime security and counter piracy patrols in the Gulf and operations in the Mediterranean, but the main focus was direct support to US aircraft carriers (USS G H W Bush and USS Carl Vinson) in the Northern Gulf while strike sorties were flown against ISIL. During the deployment the ship visited the majority of the Gulf States including Oman, Qatar, the UAE and Bahrain.

Her Commanding Officer, Commander Phil Nash, said "The homecoming is a day for my ship's company to be extremely proud of their achievements and the delivery of a hugely successful maiden operational deployment. Some have been with Defender from build and have seen the ship grow from an engineering project to become one of the worlds' most capable air defenders deployed on operations. It's a special day and one to recognise the support of our families and friends who play an enormous part in everything we do. Without them these continued successes would not have been possible".

Defender will now take some well earned leave, before a maintenance period in the New Year. Defender has a ship's company of 230 and commissioned on 21st March 2013.

Council looks to secure future of South Parade Pier

Following an agreement with South Parade Pier's prospective new owners, Portsmouth City Council will serve a repairs notice to the current owners Fred Nash and Denise Randall.

This compels the current owners to undertake the proper preservation of a building, within a two month timescale.

Donna Jones, Leader of Portsmouth City Council said: "We have listened to the public's concerns and feel they need confidence that the preservation of the pier is underway. A repairs notice will produce a schedule of work, demonstrating what will be done."

Work is underway to repair South Parade Pier. Credit: PortsmouthCityCouncil

Malcolm Belcher, project surveyor said:

We anticipate completing the works to make the pier safe over the coming winter months, weather permitting, and shall be shortly providing the council with all necessary information demonstrating how this will be achieved.

We remain on schedule of our own programme, and fully except the majority of the essential works to be completed and approved early 2015.

– Malcom Belcher

Aldershot FC knock Portsmouth out of the FA cup

Mark Molesley netted a late winner as Conference side Aldershot knocked 2008 winners Portsmouth out of the FA Cup with a 1-0 victory at the Recreation Ground.

Sky Bet League Two outfit Pompey, who also reached the FA Cup final in 2010, were the victims of a giant-killing as the home side's battling performance was rewarded when Molesley scrambled the ball home after 81 minutes.

In a frantic opening to the first-round replay, the visitors could have taken the lead inside the first minute, but Chris Barker was on hand to clear Jack Whatmough's header off the line.

And the best chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to Portsmouth midway through the first half when Ricky Holmes did well on the left to dig out a cross before Jed Wallace's acrobatic volley was parried to safety by home goalkeeper Phil Smith.

Aldershot top scorer Brett Williams almost broke the deadlock after 71 minutes when his low strike was turned around the post by Paul Jones before Manny Oyeleke flashed a shot wide moments later.

Aldershot pressed forward and Jones had to be alert again to deny Dan Holman from 25 yards with 10 minutes remaining.

But the hosts got their reward from the resulting corner as Molesley bundled the ball over the line after an almighty scramble in the six-yard box to delight the home fans.

Aldershot manager Andy Scott said "I'm very proud of the team. We had a big crowd, on television, and the players took it in their stride.

"We play Rochdale at home next. It's an opportunity to get in the third-round hat and that's what we've been looking for."

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  1. Richard Slee

Plans for thousands of new jobs and homes in Portsmouth

Plans for thousands of new jobs and homes came a step closer today - as the Minister for Portsmouth handed over land - earmarked for development - to the city council.

Tipner Firing Range and Horsea Island East - were previously owned by the Ministry of Defence and will be redeveloped.

The Minister also officially opened the city's new Centre for Maritime Intelligence Systems.

Richard Slee reports:

How lottery money has transformed Historic Dockyard

Over the last 20 years, the lottery has paid out billions of pounds in prize money and created 3600 millionaires. It has also raised £32 billion for national projects in the arts, sports and heritage.

For one of our special reports, Martin Dowse has been to Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard to see how £40 million has transformed and protected a piece of our history:

Police release e-fit after two sexual assaults in Portsmouth

E-fit of suspected attacker Credit: Hampshire Police

Police have released an e-fit of a man believed to be responsible for two sexual assaults in Portsmouth. The first one happened in Melbourne Place off Middle Street some time between 11 and 11.30pm on Saturday, October 18th. A 19-year-old woman was having a cigarette when a man came up to her and sexually assaulted. The second happened nearby in Lord Montgomery Way at around 11.35pm. A 20-year-old woman was approached by a man who pulled at her clothing and sexually assaulted her. The woman got away and raised the alarm.

The man is described as white, bald and slim. He was aged somewhere between 30 and 50. One victim said the man was wearing a v-neck woollen jumper with a bird logo on it the other said the man wore a black hoody. Both victims were left shocked by what happened.

Anyone with information is asked to call DC Larder at Fratton CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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