Mechanic's "surprise" at honour

An engineer who spent hours in oily waters, to prevent a tug boat from sinking has received a Royal Commendation for bravery.

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Mechanic saved vessel and averted marine disaster

Christos XXII, the tug that CPO Neil Halsey helped to salvage
Christos XXII, the tug that CPO Neil Halsey helped to salvage Credit: Royal Navy

Armed only with softwood wedges to hammer into holes and two commercial pumps, Navy mechanic, CPO Neil Halsey demonstrated “gallant endeavour and outstanding leadership” and has received the Queen's Commendation for bravery for his work in salvaging a ship in distress.

He led his team in a dark room filled with diesel fumes, shoulder-height oily water, and lit by a single lamp. Despite freezing conditions that made gripping the hammers extremely difficult, Halsey remained resolute and his determination ensured the vessel stayed afloat for the salvage boat.

If the tug had capsized or smashed on the rocks, more than 200 tonnes of diesel would have leaked out, just a few miles from Torbay’s beaches.


HMS Lancaster mechanic commended by the Queen

Chief Petty Officer Neil Halsey, who has been awarded a Queen's Commendation for bravery
Chief Petty Officer Neil Halsey, who has been awarded a Queen's Commendation for bravery Credit: Royal Navy

A Royal Navy engineer from Portsmouth-based HMS Lancaster has been awarded a Queen's Commendation for bravery.

Chief Petty Officer Nail Halsey, a Marine Engineering Mechanic, repeatedly entered freezing waters in the engine room of a sinking tug to stop water gushing in.

He was leading a three-man team on board the stricken tug Christos XXII. She had been hit by a vessel she was towing and was floundering close to rocks off the coast of Torbay on 13th January 2013.

Car parking prices at Queen Alexandra Hospital to go up

Parking charges at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth will increase from next month.

Parking tariffs at the multi-story car park, the north car park and for spaces nearest to the east entrance will increase from Tuesday 1st April this year.

Up to an hour and a half will now cost £1.70, up to two and half hours will cost £3, six hours will cost £7.50 and over 12 hours will cost £16.60.

Patients and visitors who need to attend the hospital over long periods of time can still benefit from a reduced parking rate, at the discretion of the ward or clinic sister.

Peter Mellor, director of corporate affairs and business development at the hospital said:

"Carillion (who manage the car parks) has responded positively to requests from members of the public and local politicians to be as considerate as possible when considering the new parking prices for 2014/15.

The Trust has worked alongside Carillion to ensure the rise in car parking charges at the hospital are fair and remain as low as possible. We are confident that Carillion, in line with its contract, has done the best it can for our patients."

– Peter Mellor, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Closed Kingston Prison could become community hub

Kingston Prison in Portsmouth could become a community hub as part of new plans. It closed in March last year, and has now been put up for sale by the Ministry of Justice.

Kingston Prison was closed last March Credit: ITV News Meridian

Providing work skills and helping support those leaving prison, are just some of the ideas being welcomed.

Circuit class on ice, crew onboard HMS Protector get fit!

Sailors on board Portsmouth based HMS Protector used a rare lull in the ships busy programme to do an hour long workout session.

Crew were lead by the ship's physical training instructor to do squats and press-ups on thick ice in Antarctica.

Crew perform press-ups and squats on thick ice in Antarctica Credit: Royal Navy

The ship is coming to the end of its 'summer season' surveying the waters around Antarctica.

Due to the icy and cold conditions, the crews have to train inside in usually cramped conditions.

Crew being pushed to their limits during their work out Credit: Royal Navy

The Leading Physical Trainer Gareth Smith said, "The ship was surrounded by ice for miles around and the decision was taken to allow people on the ice.

"The idea then struck me: after a month of being crammed in the ship's lower hold, if we'd played football, what prevented me from taking a circuit class? A chilly one, granted but one in unbelievably pure air, with an amazing back drop and without the constraints of space."

HMS Protector crew after their gruelling work out Credit: Royal Navy


'Hoarder' sentenced for hiding mother's body in freezer

A 54-year-old "hoarder" has been given a suspended jail sentence for concealing the body of his elderly mother in a freezer at their home in order to continue receiving her benefits.

Philipe Brough, of Charles Street, Portsmouth, pleaded guilty to preventing a lawful and decent burial and fraud.

The body of his 90-year-old mother, Louise Brough, was found in the freezer of their flat in Tyseley Road, Portsmouth, in August last year. A post-mortem examination was carried out which found she died of natural causes but that she had been dead since about the end of February.

Sentencing Brough to an eight-month term of imprisonment suspended for 12 months with a 12-month supervision order, Judge Roger Hetherington said Brough acted out of an "emotional inability to cope".

Portsmouth trio celebrate £1m win

The workers won £1,000,000 in the Euromillions raffle Credit: National Lottery

Three workers from a Portsmouth company are celebrating after they won one million pounds in the Euromillions Raffle last Friday.

Terry Hunt checked their syndicate ticket online to see they had won and immediately called his fellow colleagues.

The trio have been playing EuroMillions every Tuesday and Friday for the past three years.

Terry Hunt, from Havant, said:

"You can imagine the commotion in the office and it was so nice that everyone was genuinely delighted for us. In fact it was only towards the end of the day that I realised I’d left the winning ticket lying around on my desk for most of the time – we were all so carried away with excitement.”

Three colleagues from a sailing holiday company won the EuroMillions raffle Credit: National Lottery

Fellow syndicate member Alison Gruar, said:

“I got married in January and then bought a new house - we also have a young child so I have been really worried about money to the point that I have been losing sleep. This win is a game changer for me. We will be able to pay off our debts and start enjoying life a bit more.”

HMS Daring returns to Portsmouth after 9 months

They've spent nine months at sea, spending Christmas away from their loved ones, but today the crew of HMS Daring were finally reunited with their families as they returned to Portsmouth.

The 220 sailors were on exercise in the South China Sea when the ship was diverted to the Philippines in November following the Typhoon. Richard Jones reports.

HMS Daring returns home to Portsmouth

HMS Daring is to return home to Portmsouth today, having sailed forty-four thousand miles during her nine month deployment. The ship was diverted to help out in the aftermath of the devastating typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines back in November.

HMS Daring returning home to Portsmouth Credit: ITV Meridian

Her Commanding Officer, Commander Angus Essenhigh said: "The ship's company has achieved a huge amount in the nine months we've been away and they are rightly proud of their achievements.

We have worked closely with many navies in support of shared global challenges, but perhaps our most significant contribution was in the delivery of relief to the people of the Philippines following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan.

Right now we are all looking forward to being reunited with our loved ones and enjoying a well-earned rest."

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