Grecians are 'adopted' by sailors of HMS Defender
One of the Royal Navy's most fearsome warships has kicked off a new sporting partnership in Devon.
The Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender has adopted Exeter City FC as a partner to enhance its relationship with the city.
The ship's football team was hosted by the Grecians when the professionals took on Rotherham FC at St James' Park.
The Grecians have been given sporting affiliate status by HMS Defender – joining the affiliate city status of the City of Exeter.
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The club's chairman, Edward Chorlton, was recently given a guided tour of the ship and presented the ship's football team with a complement of Exeter City shirts.
Now the ship's team has promised to wear Exeter City's official shirts as a badge of the affiliation.
During the visit, the sailors were given a tour of the stadium and mementoes were exchanged between the club's chairman and HMS Defender's commanding officer Commander Phil Nash on the pitch at half-time.
Commander Nash said: "It is a great privilege to be here on match day in our affiliated city's home of football.
"The Royal Navy places great emphasis on teamwork and training to ensure that warships can be operated successfully in war and peacetime – I see those same skills being displayed here on the pitch and so it is great to be able to enjoy this occasion today.
" I have been following the team ever since I took command of HMS Defender – at last we have finally made it to St James' Park."
As one of the newest ships in the Royal Navy, HMS Defender is undergoing sea trials and training before joining the Royal Navy operational fleet in early 2013.