The hangar of HMS Prince of Wales was recently converted from a space for F-35 stealth fighters and Merlin helicopters into a dazzling concert venue for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity’s (RNRMC) major fundraising event of 2024, according to a press release.

Dubbed The Sky’s the Limit Ball, the Top Gun-themed evening drew more than 500 supporters to the Portsmouth-based warship.

Hosting the event was JJ Chalmers, a former Royal Marine who has since become a television presenter. Chalmers, who was severely injured while on patrol in Afghanistan in 2011, expressed his gratitude to the RNRMC, stating, “Ultimately, I wouldn’t be here without the support of the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity and I’m honoured to support it in return.”

The evening began with a welcome from First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Ben Key and Dr Brian Gilvary, Chair of the Board of Trustees for the RNRMC. Entertainment for the night included performances by the Massed Band of HM Royal Marines, the sailor-led group Little Red Ambulance, and the RPJ Band, whose lead singer is the son of the famous Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt.

Admiral Key highlighted the charity’s critical role, saying, “The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity is vital in assisting all those in the naval service, whether they serve at sea, in the air, or on land, as well as their families, to whom we remain forever indebted.” He emphasized that the funds raised would enable the charity to continue supporting the naval community.

The event, held at the carrier’s berth in Portsmouth Naval Base, aimed to raise substantial funds for the RNRMC, which provides crucial assistance to serving and former naval personnel and their families.

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Lisa has a degree in Media & Communication from Glasgow Caledonian University and works with industry news, sifting through press releases in addition to moderating website comments.
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Chris (@guest_830026)
21 hours ago

This baffles me. I’m hesitant to criticise this as the cause is good, as are the Charities involved. But how does this work in tandem with being the ‘high-readiness’ carrier. One that should have already been deployed to assist/relieve the Americans in the Red Sea IMO. Whilst I understand aircraft may not be on board while in Pompey you’d think that there would be various bits of equipment/spares/tools etc in that space. We have two of these quality (again IMO) pieces of kit that spend 90% of there time alongside in Portsmouth. With Queen Elizabeth stuck in dry-dock for repairs… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_830055)
20 hours ago
Reply to  Chris

You can cancel a concert at short notice or put a large marquee on the quayside…..

The amount of kit that would have to be offloaded to clear the spaces would be insignificant in the great scheme of things.

I don’t think any spares etc live onboard. They would travel with the maintainers who travel with the frames. The sisters/tools/rigs would be trucked / flown on demand to the carrier.

Coll (@guest_830065)
20 hours ago
Reply to  Chris

From what I have read, the RN is expected to have a carrier ready to deploy in 30 days, but they managed to do it in 22 after the QE carrier shaft issue. I’m pretty sure they can put the stuff back on time, and have the stage remove a small stage platform within 30 days. And as Supportive Bloke said, or just cancel the event.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_830066)
20 hours ago
Reply to  Chris

Hosting a concert in the hangar does not affect the ability to deploy at 48hrs notice. The hangar is huge. They have all the kit they need to deploy. Concerts and ships events are surprisingly common onboard. They can be great fun, and generate a good amount of money for a worthy cause. When the vessels are alongside in foreign ports, the hangar qnd flight deck often plays host to foreign dignitaries, cocktail partys, ships open to visitors for the general public and generally flying the flag. It does not affect the ability to deploy at short notice. It’s all… Read more »

Last edited 20 hours ago by Robert Blay
Chris (@guest_830089)
18 hours ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Thanks for the replies all. Happy to stand corrected on its interference with deploy ability. I suppose we may never know if we offered to assist or replace the US Carrier in the Red Sea. It just seems a bit strange to me that an ally would be extending past 8 months deployed as no replacement is available, while our carrier is alongside.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_830098)
18 hours ago
Reply to  Chris

The Americans probably didn’t request it.

dc647a (@guest_830121)
16 hours ago

That’s a great use for them turn them both into night clubs, paint ball range, escape rooms, and ten pin bowling. That would be a better use because they are not bloody good as aircraft carriers😂

Darryl2164 (@guest_830222)
3 hours ago

Really , with the US struggling to replace it’s carrier in the red sea , we are holding a catwalk event on ours tied up in port . Isn’t it time these expensive ships earned their keep and the RN stepped in to to fill the gap left by the US carrier . Put it to sea with a full compliment of f35s,s , an escort fleet and let’s see what it it can really do . It’s disgraceful that the Americans are having to shoulder the burden of carrier operations alone in the gulf , whilst ours ( along… Read more »

Tommo (@guest_830244)
2 hours ago

Served on Hermes 76 when flight wasn’t embarked , it was rotor not fixed wing at the time .A full sized height correct Boxing ring was set up Hangars even the Hermes was/ are bloody big .