Troops at Invicta Park Barracks in Maidstone celebrated the summer with their 'Meet The Neighbours' event. Families from 36 Engineering Regiment came together to enjoy a day of music, dance, cultural food stands and military stalls. Each element showcased the skills and cultural diversity of serving personnel, including troops from 21 different countries.
The annual event focussed on community engagement and unit cohesion prior to the unit's pre-deployment training for deployments to South Sudan and the Falkland Islands in early 2020.
Staff Sergeant Wesley Meredith, the main event organiser said:
“It’s a chance for us to bring together the wider community, we’ve got the Queen's Gurkha Engineer Regiment based here, there’s 21 different nationalities so it’s a really good chance to experience many cultures from the Pacific Islands, Africa, the Caribbean, Nepal and the United Kingdom.”
CSE assisted the event by providing a music duo, a small sound system and event management on the day. Alongside the CSE element there was a performance from the Military Wives Choir, a Kukri dance and a Pacific Island dance.
Sapper Sumanchandragr said: “Our ancestors used to do this dance after winning a fire fight so we’re just continuing their history and we perform this dance on these kind of occasions.
"I feel really proud to do this dance, I feel a connection with my ancestors that I’m able to perform what they did years ago and I’m carrying their legacy onto the next generation.”
As well as stage performances there was a dazzling array of food from around the world that included food cooked in a traditional Fijian underground oven, different African dishes, Jamaican rum punch and a mouth-watering selection of curries.
There were also displays that showcased the various trades and skill-sets of the largest regiment in the Corps of Royal Engineers. A bridge-building competition, a dive tank, military working dogs, plant equipment and weapon displays provided guests with a unique insight into the diversity of the unit.
Angie Avlianos, Event Manager for CSE summed up the day:
"It’s wonderful to see the unit and families come together in such a relaxed atmosphere. The organisers have worked hard to make the day a success. It felt inclusive and friendly and CSE were delighted to be part of the event.”
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