SIR David Attenborough and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit Cammell Laird next week for the naming ceremony of a Polar research ship honouring the broadcasting legend.

British Antarctic Survey and Cammell Laird are inviting members of the public to join them for the event at the Birkenhead shipyard on Thursday, September 26.

The event is the highlight of a three-day celebration of UK science, engineering, and shipbuilding and expected to attract thousands of people.

A Cammell Laird spokesman told the Globe: "This new polar research ship for Britain is one of the most advanced in the world.

"Commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council, built by Cammell Laird and operated by British Antarctic Survey, the RRS Sir David Attenborough will transform ship-borne science in Antarctica and the Arctic.

"The ship will provide UK polar researchers and their international collaborators with access to a state-of-the-art multi-disciplinary research platform that will enable them to investigate the role that polar oceans play in our changing world."

Sir David returned to Cammell Laird in July last year to launch the next stage of work on the ship, which is now complete.

That day the 129-metre long, 10,000 tonne hull of RRS Sir David Attenborough was launched into the River Mersey as hundreds watched.

Tugs towed hull number 1390 to Laird's wet basin for the next stages of construction.

It was the largest commercial shipbuilding project at a UK shipyard for 30 years.

Sir David - who attended the keel-laying ceremony at Cammell Laird marking the start of work on the vessel in 2016 - said at the time: "Britain began exploring the Antarctic over a century ago when it seemed to be an empty wilderness of little importance to the world as a whole.

"Now we recognise that what happens at the Poles is of the greatest importance to everyone, everywhere.

"The UK and the British Antarctic Survey have been making discoveries in both regions that enable us to better understand these global processes and this wonderful new research ship will enable British scientists to continue their crucial work in both the Arctic and Antarctic for decades to come."

The decision to name it RRS Sir David Attenborough was made in 2016 by then Science Minister Jo Johnson, following a public vote staged by NERC beating its nearest rival, Boaty McBoatface.

Shipyard workers, engineers, scientists and maritime industry experts joined special guest speakers, including Sir David, to celebrate this remarkable .

Laird's chief executive John Syvret CBE, said during the keel-laying ceremony in 2016: "We have said that this Cammell Laird generation is proud of its heritage and is determined make its own history, and the launch of Sir David Attenborough Polar Research Ship underpins this commitment and ambition.

"We are now back in the premier league of the shipbuilding world, it has been a herculean effort by all to get here, this launch raises the brand profile and as a result provides increased global recognition, which bodes well for the future."

Professor Dame Jane Francis, director of British Antarctic Survey, added: "This is a fantastic moment for all of us. At British Antarctic Survey our scientists, engineers, and support teams – especially those mariners and project managers who have been working closely with the amazing teams at Cammell Laird - are tremendously excited to reach this milestone.

"It is an incredible achievement, and one that everyone in the country can be proud of."

Professor Sir Mark Walport, chief executive of UK Research and Innovation, said: "The work of Sir David has engaged millions of people across the planet with these issues and their impact.

"The research ship named in his honour will make a vital contribution to addressing them."

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