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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

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Maryport pals in Arabian reunion

On a boat in the middle of the Arabian Sea isn’t the most conventional place to have a reunion with an old friend – but that is exactly where two Maryport men met up.

LONG WAY FROM HOME: Maryport pals Mark Watson, left, and Geoff Moore on the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Fort Victoria, in the United Arab Emirates

Mark Watson, 41, of Nelson Street, and Geoff Moore, 56, of Fleming Square, were both working in the United Arab Emirates when they arranged to meet up.

Mark works for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary which supports Royal Navy ships with fuel, ammunition and supplies. His boat, RFA Fort Victoria, was moored off the Port of Fujairah, where Mark’s old friend Geoff had moved in June 2011 to work as a chaplain, although he has kept his house in Maryport.

Geoff knew that Mark’s boat was moving to Fujairah and rang to arrange a meeting. A surprised Mark got the all-clear from his captain to allow Geoff on board for a catch-up and tour of the boat.

Mark said: “It was a bonus. I enjoyed it and he enjoyed coming onto the boat.”

Geoff said: “It was a great experience, especially as we hadn’t met up for while.”

Mark and Geoff’s friendship started when Mark joined Maryport Sea Cadets at the age of 11 and had Geoff as one of his officers. Geoff was then working as a firefighter for Cumbria Fire and Rescue.

Mark worked at the Ministry of Defence in Longtown, before taking a job with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Geoff also worked at BBC Radio Cumbria and in 2006 became a chaplain for The Mission to Seafarers, before moving to Fujairah.

Mark said: “He was a father figure to me and our friendship just grew.”

Mark went out again to the United Arab Emirates yesterday and plans to meet up with Geoff.

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