HRH The Princess Royal was in Sunderland today (Monday 9 May) to help launch the Sail Training Ambassador programme for the 2018 Tall Ships Races.

Princess Anne visited the National Glass Centre to meet some of those involved, including 18 apprentices taking part in the race, and watch a demonstration of traditional naval skills from members of the crew from Sunderland's adopted Royal Navy ship - HMS Ocean.

With a rich maritime history, Sunderland has been selected to host the start of the world famous Tall Ships Races in the summer of 2018 (July 11-14) organised by Sail Training International.

Mayor of Sunderland, Barry Curran, said: “I am thrilled that The Princess Royal was able to travel to Sunderland to show her support for this fantastic programme, and honoured to welcome her on behalf of the people of our city.

"The Tall Ships Races 2018 will provide another opportunity for visitors and residents alike to enjoy the city’s riverside and award winning coastline, and I hope everyone will come along to enjoy and support this fantastic international event.

Sail Training is an adventure activity, which includes far more than sailing instruction and the participants, aged 15 to 25, will confront demanding physical and emotional challenges in on-board activities designed to boost their self-confidence and increase their sense of personal responsibility.

The programme will give nominated representatives from schools and community organisations across the city and region the chance to undergo sail training in the build up to the race.

Sunderland City Council’s Director of The Tall Ships Project, Ian Flannery, said: "The programme that we will be launching on Monday 9 May is not only the first of its kind, it is a great step towards giving as many young people as possible the chance to do something life-changing that they will talk about for years to come."