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Two old sea dogs afloat!

Allen and Endal aboard HMS Warrior

Royal Navy Gulf War Veteran, Allen Parton, and his Canine Partner Endal were delighted to be invited to represent the disabled community recently and launch the Virtual Reality Tour of HMS Warrior 1860, moored at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Allen said ‘There are always going to be limitations on accessibility to parts of historic attractions such as HMS Warrior to people with mobility problems. Hence being able to access these hidden areas via a virtual reality tour from a computer terminal is such an enabling experience.

‘HMS Warrior does have a chair lift to allow access down to the imposing gun deck and very good accessibility once there. However, there is then no access to the lower decks for wheelchair users and that is where the virtual tour comes into its own.

‘To be quite honest on many attractions it is only possible to get a wheelchair into the lifts etc let alone an assistance dog as well. But being able to explore HMS Warrior virtually while ashore, so that one still feels the ambiance of the ship, really does take the hassle and worry out of the day.

‘In fact the tour was so realistic and informative that one gets to see parts of the ship that the more able bodied person cannot access, plus the added bonus of animated clips explaining the workings of the Warrior thrown in as well.

‘From the safety of my wheelchair with Endal basking in the ‘Spring sun’ at my side I was able to experience 360 degree views from the crows nest some 170 feet up the mast. We were able to see video clips on how the huge steam driven engines worked and were also given a very good explanation of the workings of the guns. At the end of the experience I felt that there was not a nook or cranny on board that we had not explored’.

Allen also added; "to have been invited to test and launch this very innovative enhancement to the facilities on board HMS Warrior as a disabled person with his assistance dog was a great pleasure. At long last this shows the acceptance of this kind of partnership as the normal. With more and more attractions starting to consider the welfare of our Canine Partners it really is worth making the effort to visit these venues and the bottom line is, if my Endal is happy then so am I’.

Congratulations to HMS Warrior’s team for creating such an enabling experience.

Comment from the ship’s captain, David Newbury: ‘Many thanks Allen and Endal. We are very pleased with our virtual tour and believe that it will play a very significant part in improving the quality of the visit for people with mobility problems. Please come and see us!’