The Governor’s wife, Lorraine Davis, has taken on the role of Lady Sponsor for the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron.
At a ceremony in the Naval Base yesterday she addressed the navy personnel present and cut the cake with the youngest member of the squadron AB Michael Harkin.
Accepting the position Mrs Davis said she was truly honored to assume the role of Lady Sponsor for the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron.
“I have been a navy wife myself for almost 30 years and the moral and welfare of our service personal is close to my heart and it is paramount to those working in often difficult circumstances and challenging ones too.
“Which is why I am especially delighted to be given the opportunity to give my support in whatever capacity to the hard working men and women of the squadron.”
“I hope to bring my sense of personality to the role and I look forward to spending more time with the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron,” she said.
Lieutenant Commander Ollie Loughran spoke at the event explaining the history of sponsors in the Royal Navy – usually the person who names the ship by virtue of blessing the ship and all who sail within them.
The ceremony at various times has involved the sprinkling of Holy water, throwing a cup full of wine on the deck or since the late seventeenth century breaking a bottle of wine or champagne across the bow. The ceremony is usually performed at the same time the ship is launched.
The sponsor of a Royal Navy war ship until the mid-nineteenth century was usually a member of the Royal family or a senior Naval Officer or official. However, in the course of the nineteenth century it became increasingly common for the sponsor to be a woman and lady sponsors are now the rule rather than the exception.
Lady sponsors may be members of the Royal family, wives of senior members of the establishment, wives of admirals, senior politicians, officials or someone of high status with a clear connection is preferred.
In Gibraltar the role is currently filled by the wife of the Governor and is handed over when the Governor departs the Rock.