Forces Live Events (CSE) put on another large-scale festival style event at Carver Barracks in Wimbish.
CSE started the main party with a bill including Stavros Flatley and tribute band Black Eyed Peaz after the more formal Reflag and Re-formation parade held earlier in the day.
A special Jurassic visitor made the day extra special for dinosaur fans.
101 Engineer Regiment is a hybrid unit that under Army 2020 will re-role to become a fully reservist unit. Blackcat Bonanza was held to mark the reformation 101 Engineer Regiment and 35 Engineer Regiment and to celebrate both the regular and reservist soldiers who have served within the unit, along with their families.
Such events are normally focussed on the officers and warrant officers and not targeted enough to the families, but Blackcat Bonanza brought everyone together to celebrate as one.
The Regiment qualified for CSE beneficiary funding, having met several of our criteria.
They currently have people on Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Operations which can last for up for up nine months across the world in Iraq, Central and East Africa, Saudi Arabia and Canada.
Even on return from operations, soldiers often find themselves on UK taskings such as the bomb discovered in Birmingham earlier in the year.
This high-pressure work takes a toll on the soldiers and the families of the unit. Consequently, we funded special appearances by the ever-popular Stavros Flatley from Britain's Got Talent, ‘Moana’, ‘Spiderman’, Roary the T-Rex, plus ‘Peppa and George Pig’.
Commanding Officer 35 Engineer Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Irena Dzisiewska said
“The external children’s entertainment and Stavros Flatley which were funded by CSE were a highlight for our soldiers and their families.”
“With numerous members of the Regiment currently serving, or about to deploy on operations, the Blackcat Bonanza festival has unquestionably raised the morale of the Regiment and its service families."
Lieutenant Colonel Irena Dzisiewska also said.
“It is rare for us to be able to put on an event of this scale due to the large costs involved but the generous contribution from the CSE Beneficiary Fund allowed us to maximise the use of our own Charitable fund, The Richmond Hill Trust Fund, and ensure that all the Station’s families could participate.”
We were also commissioned to deliver a festival line up with acts including Bounce and DJ Stevie T, as well as putting in the stage, sound and lighting, a large marquee, rodeo bull and inflatable assault course.
Captain Jamie Lock said.
"CSE have been fundamental in the organisation of this event."
"They have provided expertise, in the fact that they do this on a daily basis and the most crucial thing they have made a difference with is they have donated money from the beneficiary fund to this event which has been hugely helpful.
"These sorts of events are really important for the families of the regiment because we have multiple people deployed on operations and it’s important for the people that have their husbands and wives away on operations that their families can get involved with these sorts of events as well as the people that are currently on station to get together and be as one unit."
Ahead of the event, Captain Lock told Forces Radio BFBS that the soldiers and their families deserve to be celebrated - not only are they becoming a reservist regiment but 35 Engineer Regiment have come over from Germany and rebranded from a close support regiment to an EOD and Search regiment.
Lieutenant Colonel Irena Dzisiewska also passed on thanks to CSE and said.
“The level of support and professionalism provided by CSE was key to the festival with the stage production forming the main attraction on the day.
"The quality of the bands, stage equipment, stage crew were excellent.”