BRITAIN'S flagship in the campaign to liberate Iraq - the last aircraft carrier to be build in the North-East - returned to the region yesterday.

HMS Ark Royal, built in Wallsend, sailed into River Tyne, where she docked at Tyne Commission Quay, North Shields.

The ship left the UK in January to head a routine naval task group deployment to the Gulf.

However, the crisis in Iraq saw the ship used as a base for helicopters to play a pivotal role during the amphibious assault on the Al Faw Peninsula.

Model Nell McAndrew will today present sailors with a cheque from NAAFI, while the carrier will be open to visitors from 1pm to 4pm on Sunday.