Chefs of 16 Air Assault Brigade in Colchester have cooked and served up a delicious Christmas meal at their local Emergency Night Shelter.
Cooking meals for the homeless is not a once-a-year duty for the chefs of 16 Air Assault Brigade in Colchester.
Chefs from the town’s Merville Barracks have volunteered their time to cook dinner once a week at the homeless shelter since 2014, but always make a special effort for Christmas.
The Brigade's photographer, LCpl Jamie Hart, was on hand to capture the scene as residents gathered for an early Christmas with all the trimmings.
"Head Chef" of 16 Air Assault Brigade, WO1 Olly Rogers, seen below in command of the stove, is proud to use his skills to give something back to less fortunate members of the community. He said:
"It's particularly important to make an extra effort at Christmas because the residents don't necessarily have families and friends to celebrate with."
He adds that supporting the Night Shelter weekly since 2014 has given junior soldiers a different perspective on the challenges that they may face in their lives.
This Christmas, the soldiers went the extra mile by decorating the centre and handing out presents of jumpers and toiletries to the residents, before filling them up with a traditional turkey dinner.
As if that wasn't enough, an "Airborne Santa" dropped in to dispense even more festive cheer.
Santa is used to being airborne, of course, but on this occasion, he left the sleigh behind.
Night Shelter resident Brad thinks it's fantastic when the British Army chefs come in a cook for them. He said:
"When the Army come in every week it's a highlight for us because the food is exceptional.
"It means a lot to us because, as homeless people, our self-opinion can be quite low."
Marina Woodrow is the Shelter's Manager, and agrees that the Army Christmas dinner is a special occasion. She said:
"The work that the Army chefs put into producing, not just an excellent meal, but also decorating the Shelter and providing gifts to our residents, is phenomenal."