On Tuesday October 1 the Mayor and Mayoress were pleased to welcome personnel from HMS Vigilant to the Town Hall, where they were joined by the Deputy Mayor Councillor Debbie Pitts and Councillors Karen Angela, Stephen Pitts, Janet Thommeny, and Betty Quirk.
The affiliation between the Council and HMS Vigilant began in 1996, marking both the launch of the vessel and the Council's centenary year.
Representatives of the Council attended the launch and the commanding officer and crew later visited the Island. In the intervening years there have been several visits by Council representatives to the vessel at its base in Faslane, and a number of reciprocal visits by the crew to the Island. Notably, when available, they are represented at the annual Remembrance Sunday service. Less formally, there have been football matches with local clubs, golf competitions, and similar activities.
Members of the crew have also supported local charities by organising sponsored cycle rides and similar campaigns. Whenever they are in the Island, they usually visit the local Sea Cadet unit which also has an affiliation.
Since the affiliation began the link has been maintained, although the nature of operations of the vessel means that regular contact is impracticable. Now, however, with a new commanding officer, Commander Ben Smith, and a largely new crew, there is a fresh impetus to reinvigorate the association.