WELCOMING this week’s visit by minesweeper HMS Pembroke to the county is a well-known Angle man, with his own long and colourful connection with the Royal Navy.

Retired reverend Mike Brotherton, 60, spent 27 years in the Royal Navy, leaving in 2011 on the same Servetta/Lambretta scooter 'Boy About Town' he used to travel to his first job with the service, in 1984 as the assistant chaplain at HMS Collingwood in Hampshire, having been ordained as a 24-year-old in 1981.

That 1984 journey, on the Masons Motorcycles of Haverfordwest-purchased scooter, took him nine hours.

During his service Mike spent many years at sea with a wide variety of warships. He was chaplain to the 4th Frigate Squadron serving on HM ships Active, Amazon, Ambuscade, Alacrity, Arrow and Avenger.

In 1993 Mike joined the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal in one of the highlights of his career. He arrived on board the ship, which was on patrol in the Adriatic, dressed as his favourite character – Charlie Chaplin.

While on Ark Royal he was awarded an MBE for his pastoral work to all ranks within the navy.

Mike’s scooter has recently undergone a refit and overhaul by Johnny Boss of the Poco Loco scooter and motorcycle repair business in Pier Road, Pembroke Dock, in what Mike described as “a ship’s refit,” keeping the all-important early 1980s feel of the custom scooter.

Mike has known Johnny for many years and cannot thank him enough for all his help and support.

“Johnny is an amazing lad, he hides his talents under a bushel,” said Mike.

He said ‘Boy About Town’ had followed him throughout his ministry and Naval career and would still be used.

He admitted he wasn’t riding as much as he used to, explaining: “On the Angle Road you take your life into your own hands; occasionally the Boy About Town will appear in Pembroke Dock, but I think the days of riding from here to Portsmouth are long gone, I don’t know how I even dared to do it.”

Speaking about the visit by HMS Pembroke, Mike said: “It maintains the link with the Royal Navy with Pembrokeshire, especially with the Haven and Pembroke Dock and its vast history, 268 ships were built in the dockyard during its heyday. There’s still a lot of local people in the area who are immensely proud of the forces; I served in the Navy for 37 years, my life has revolved around the Navy.”