After a year away in the Royal Navy, Aaron Canwell returned on the HMS Queen Elizabeth to some very special smiles last Wednesday.
Five-year-old Lily and her sister Darcey, one, from West Wittering, were delighted to have their Daddy home after his stint away in Scotland.
Mum Marti Jeffs, 28, who plans to marry Aaron next year, said his step-daughter Lily was in awe as the ship arrived in Portsmouth Harbour to huge crowds.
She said: “She’s seen ships before but she’s never been part of that experience.
“They were all lined up and she was asking ‘where’s Daddy, where’s Daddy?’
“Seeing her little face light up, it was magical, absolutely magical.”
The family will have a few months together, with Aaron based in Portsmouth before the crew departs to finish testing out the warship, which is the largest ever built for the Royal Navy.
Aaron, 35, said being in the navy involved humanitarian efforts and it was a ‘great job’ apart from the time he has to spend away from home.
He said: “It’s amazing, it’s been a long process being based up in Scotland and being a weekend dad and partner has not been easy for her or myself but to come back down is amazing and what better way to come back into Portsmouth than on a flagship.”