Helping in the Phillipines - Christmas takes a back seat

HMS ILLUSTRIOUS Leading Photographer took a group shot of the ME Department in the Aft Lift area. Among them is Leven crewman Ryan Sullivan. Ship is going to help with relief efforts in the Philippines.
HMS ILLUSTRIOUS Leading Photographer took a group shot of the ME Department in the Aft Lift area. Among them is Leven crewman Ryan Sullivan. Ship is going to help with relief efforts in the Philippines.
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Marine engineer Ryan Sullivan and his shipmates are giving up Christmas with their families to help the relief effort.

Ryan, from Leven, is aboard HMS Illustrious – the last of the invincible aircraft carriers – which will be providing supplies to help people in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the islands nearly three weeks ago.

The ship, with over 150 engineers and 600 personnel on board to assist, is providing food, medical supplies and materials for building, in addition to supporting the effort which is already taking place which aims to supply electricity to areas, and clear debris to allow access into the hardest-hit communities.

HMS Illustrious is also capable of producing its own fresh water supply, so people affected by the disaster can have some hope of clean water.

Ryan (22), currently on deployment with the Royal Navy as an engineering technician marine engineer (ETME), explained the vessel had been sent to the Far East in August to conduct exercises with other Naval fleets from around the world and had been due back in Portsmouth by mid-December, in good time for Christmas.

When news of the tragedy in the Philippines came through, the tour was extended by two months – but Ryan said he and the rest of the ship’s company were committed to helping.

“This is what people join up for and, since it is such a large-scale natural disaster, everyone is more than happy to get involved,” he told the Mail.

“Missing Christmas is a downside to things but we know we will be doing good and what we are doing is going to affect thousands of lives.

“Everyone on ship is more than willing to give our support and families back home are very proud.”

Ex-Buckhaven High School pupil Ryan studied mechanical engineering for a year at university and, while waiting to join the Navy, worked at Diageo in Leven for a year.

With his engineering skills, he said he was expecting to help with rebuilding and clearing roads for support to get to the families in need.