ROYAL Navy sailors with Sunderland football affiliations were welcomed on board at the Stadium of Light.

A dozen-strong detachment of Black Cats fans, who usually have to follow their team from afar, took the opportunity of visiting the home of Sunderland AFC during shore leave back in the North-East.

All crew members of the Royal Navy flagship HMS Illustrious, they were invited for a guided tour of the stadium while it is moored ten miles north, on the River Tyne.

The aircraft carrier, launched at Swan Hunter's yard on the Tyne in 1982, returned "home" to the North-East on Tuesday for a week-long visit to the region.

It hosts a sixth form symposium, as part of Science Alive week, today. Tomorrow, the public are welcome on board, at the Tyne Commission Quay, North Shields, from 10.30am to 3pm. Admission is free.