THE new captain of a county’s adopted warship has paid his first official visit.

Andrew Burns took over as captain of HMS Bulwark, County Durham’s adopted warship, last September – succeeding Alex Burton who was promoted to the rank of commodore.

Capt Burns today (Thursday, January 24) completed a two-day trip to the county, during which he visited Durham Trinity School, Forest of Teesdale Primary School, Durham County Council, Netpark, in Sedgefield, Durham University’s Castle College and Maiden Castle sports ground, the Treetops children’s ward at the University Hospital of North Durham, in Durham City, and Aycliffe Young People’s Centre, in Newton Aycliffe.

Finally, he met Councillor John Wilkinson, the Mayor of Durham, at Durham Town Hall, along with Mayoress Cynthia Wilkinson and the Mayor’s Bodyguard.

Ron Clarkson, Captain of the Bodyguard, presented Capt Burns with a commemorative bell, which will be taken onboard HMS Bulwark.

Capt Burns, 43, who studied Geography at Durham University’s Hatfield College between 1989 and 1992, is married to Wendy, who is originally from Blackhill, Consett. The couple live in Plymouth with their five-year-old son Samuel.

He said: “The links we’ve got up here are really strong and I was really keen to get up here myself to cement them.”

HMS Bulwark is due to return to the North-East for a three-day visit in May.