SHIPYARD workers past and present who have spent the last 50 years helping to protect the UK's shores have been praised by the UK's defence secretary.

Recognising the 50th anniversary of Continuous At Sea Deterrence (CASD), the UK’s Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt has praised the thousands of Barrovians and South Cumbrians for their role in keeping our shores safe.

Mrs Mordaunt penned an open letter to all shipyard workers who have served during the past 50 years recognising their efforts which were a‘vital contribution’ towards the security of the nation.

In the letter Mrs Mordaunt said: “Every day for the past 50 years we have had a submarine continuously patrolling our waters and at this important milestone it’s important to recognise everyone who has played a pivotal role in this, including the thousands of shipyard workers in Barrow in Furness.

“The region has a long and proud history of shipbuilding, with hundreds of merchant ships, submarines and naval vessels all built in Barrow’s shipyards, including both HMS Vengeance and HMS Victorious and the newest addition to the fleet, the 7,400 tonne Audacious.”

The letter comes in recognition of Operation Relentless, whereby at least one Royal Navy ballistic submarine has been patrolling the world’s oceans, unseen and undetected since April 1969.

Barrow’s shipyard has played a vital role in this by starting construction on the Resolution-class of ballistic submarines in 1963.

By 1969 the UK began CASD with the four Resolution class boats and the shipyard has since been key in the construction of further vessels.

The defence secretary said: “Every single man and woman who works at BAE Systems in Barrow makes a vital contribution to our national security by helping to maintain our nuclear deterrent every day. And as Defence Secretary I would like to thank them for their continued hard work.”

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock said: “For the last 50 years the people at Barrow shipyard have worked tirelessly on the design and construction of the submarines and maintain our safety in a volatile world. The people of Barrow and Furness play a key role in maintaining our national security. We are living in a period of increasing instability with threats from sinister forces across the globe, but because of their skills and talents, we all sleep safe each night. The nation owes them a debt of gratitude.”