HMS Ark Royal: Ideas floated for memorial to Leeds ship

It is just days since the Ark Royal completed her final journey – and ideas are already coming in for how the proud links between the ship and Leeds should be remembered.

With a history dating back to the Spanish Armada, the Ark sailed into Portsmouth for the final time on Friday to prepare for decommissioning.

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But while the carrier may be heading for the scrap yard, 260 miles away in Leeds, people have vowed that the bonds between the ship and her adopted city must not go the same way.

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The links were forged during the Second World War, when the people of Leeds raised 9.3m to replace Ark Royal III, which was sunk in 1941.

The Ark received the Freedom of Leeds in 1973 and now, Leeds City Council has issued a plea for ideas for a permanent city memorial.

Suggestions have already been made, ranging from the humble to the more ambitious.

L.E. Miller, of Guiseley, has called for a floating museum, while it was suggested that a room in Civic Hall should be named after the Ark.

David Readshaw said the council should provide "tangible assistance" towards the development of the premises of the existing link, namely TS Ark Royal, where sea cadets have met for many years.

Another idea mooted is an Ark Royal Square or Ark Royal Street, as Leeds already has a Dortmund Square to recognise its German twin city.

Gathering Ark Royal memorabilia together and establishing a permanent exhibition in the City Museum could also be considered.

Coun Keith Wakefield, council leader, said the council was determined to ensure a lasting legacy.

* Email ideas to: arkroyal@leeds.gov.uk or write to Ark Royal Memorial, Civic and Ceremonial Support, Leeds City Council, 2nd Floor East, Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR.

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