One magician, resplendent in tails and white gloves, carrying a miniature theatre, plus entertainers complete with bunny ears can only mean one thing – Easter had come to Aldershot, courtesy of the Forces Live Events (CSE) Beneficiary Fund.
Fifty children of 27 Regiment gathered at the Connaught Centre to enjoy a party full of magic, games, crafts and balloon modelling.
Easter was at the heart of the event, with themed crafts and glitter tattoos, alongside party games such as Bunny Bumps, Egg Hop Relay and Easter Statues.
Corporal Ryan Bridgen, from 27 Regiment Welfare Department, said:
“The [entertainers] were awesome. They really went above what we had anticipated; made everyone there have a good time and get involved.”
“The magician was also brilliant, and had the kids glued to his tricks.”
The event aimed to get the families of 27 Regiment together outside of work in a family fun environment - something they have been in desperate need of.
Besides currently serving multiple deployments around the world - in Gibraltar, Scotland, America, Liverpool, BATUS and the Falklands - 27 Regiment is also on standby supporting Operation Temperer.
That means they could be called at short notice to help in the aftermath should Britain suffer a terror attack.
Family time is often impacted by the last-minute nature of these taskings, with personnel often deployed multiple times throughout the year.
27 Regiment is also due to deploy to Cyprus later in the year.
This is likely to take personnel away from their families between now and then, for deployment training and exercises that can be 2-4 weeks long.
Cpl Bridgen approached CSE after hearing about a kids' Christmas Party they organised for 4 Regiment Royal Military Police before they disbanded.
When asked why the 27 Regiment was a deserving benefactor, he said:
“My personal opinion on dependents that are left behind when their partner/parent deploys is that they are bearing the hard part of the deployment.
“As soldiers, it is very easy for us to deploy and get over being homesick and crack on with the job.
"I have seen dependents left behind have to deal with unplanned financial issues, medical issues, loneliness, bereavement; and when the partner returns, it is the deployed person that gets the pat on the back.
"I am not saying one is harder thanthe other, but I would say is that being left behind is not easier and there is no pat on the back.”
Reflecting on the impact of the event, and the benefit made by CSE funding the children’s entertainment, Cpl Bridgen added:
“Thank you so much for your help organising the entertainment for our Easter party last night. It was a massive success; we saw a few new faces, and had a lot of good feedback.”
Getting service families together for celebrations like this strengthens the Regiment, and gives them opportunity to make friends and talk about their similar experiences.
BFBS Aldershot’s Natasha Reneaux was in attendance at the event, where the children also enjoyed meeting the Easter Bunny, an Easter egg hunt and a buffet.
Cpl Bridgen said:
“I had never really thought about getting involved with BFBS before, and having Natasha come down and do some Father’s Day messages and a bit of recording really made the night. Thank you so much.”
If you are looking for live entertainment, however big or small, get in touch with CSE to find out how we can help.
As a not-for-profit organisation, any surplus we make from our commercial projects goes directly into our Beneficiary Fund, which aims to improve morale and welfare of British Armed Forces personnel and their families through a variety of event and entertainment solutions.
If you are in the military, or are part of the wider military community, and have a welfare requirement - contact us for more information about the CSE Beneficiary Fund and/or an application form.