Retired boxer and 2012 Olympic medallist Anthony Ogogo visited personnel based at the military medical unit Joint Hospital Group South to help them celebrate cultural and LGBTQ diversity in partnership with Forces Live Events, CSE.
Medical staff turned their hand to a very different kind of operation this week when they celebrated their second International Day.
The aim of the event is to promote the wide variety of cultures and lifestyles within the unit and the UK Armed Forces as a whole plus to create a greater understanding and knowledge of those cultures.
The event was led by Corporal Christine Hawkins, an Operating Department Practitioner and member of the Royal Army Medical Corps, pictured below. She said:
“Today is all about the diversity within the unit.
"We’re showcasing 15 different countries, sampling their food, speaking about their journey and about the culture changes they’ve experienced within their military service”
The day kicked off with short speeches delivered by members of the unit. Countries including Belize, Canada, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Mauritius and Jamaica were represented plus England, Wales and Scotland.
Alongside the theme of International Day was also inclusion for LGBTQ representation within the armed forces. Leading Medical Technician Scott Lauton-Roberts said:
“I don’t see myself as being any different to people I work with and I think that’s a reflection of the modern armed forces of today.
"It doesn’t matter what kind of sexual orientation you are, you’re accepted for who you are and the job that you do.”
CSE sourced the keynote speaker for the event. Former Team GB Boxer and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Anthony Ogogo delivered a fascinating speech, sharing intimate details of his struggles with a serious injury which has sadly ended his boxing career prematurely.
He talked candidly about the challenges of being a top-flight sport’s professional and overcoming adversity. He was full of praise for the armed forces. He said:
“Keep doing what you’re doing, I’ve got the most admiration for you guys and I know the rest of the country has as well.”
Joint Hospital Group South prepares military medical professionals for operations worldwide. Their work ensures that members are clinically current and ready to deploy to provide medical care for patients all around the world. Major Victoria Bulleid is one of the unit’s Diversity and Inclusion advisors. She said:
“We have to show a cross-section of society and by having lots of different people from different backgrounds it makes us stronger as a team.
"This day allows us a better understanding of other nations and other cultures and this is something we can take away and translate to our work in clinical practice.”
Following the speeches, delegates enjoyed national dishes from around the world. CSE also funded a steel band to entertain guests during lunch.
Delegates were invited to take part in a short workshop where they learned to play steel drums and the event was rounded off by a Scottish ceilidh with the whole unit throwing themselves into some very enthusiastic dancing. CSE Events Manager Angie Avlianos said:
“It’s been a real privilege to be part of such an inspiring and uplifting day. It was one of those events where I was reminded why I love working with the armed forces. The diversity, skill and passion for what they do is amazing to witness.”
If you’d like to host a diversity event or need some advice on booking entertainment, get in touch with the CSE team on [email protected]