Army chefs cook for homeless at Christmas
Chefs from 16 Air Assault Brigade have served up platefuls of festive cheer to homeless people at Colchester Emergency Night Shelter.
Chefs from the town’s Merville Barracks have volunteered their time to cook dinner once a week at the homeless shelter since 2014, but wanted to make a special effort for Christmas. They raised £950 to decorate the centre, serve up turkey with all the trimmings and buy presents for the residents, such as jumpers and toiletries.
“tonight we’re their family”
Sergeant Ashley Jacobs said: “Cooking at the Night Shelter is a great way to use our skills as chefs to support people in need in the local community. Our junior chefs gain a different perspective on life from coming here and mixing with the residents.
“We always like to do something special at Christmas and people have been really generous supporting us. We’ve collected much more than we needed to pay for the meal so we’ve got funds to support our ongoing work.”
The voluntary project has also seen the chefs re-organise the centre’s kitchen and stock keeping.
Lance Corporal Sam Godfrey said: “I really enjoy coming to cook at the homeless shelter, it’s good to help people who are less fortunate than we are and just need a little bit of support. To me Christmas is a time for being at home with your family and these guys haven’t necessarily got a family to go to, so tonight we’re their family and we’re putting on a celebration for them.”
Cooking up festive cheer
Marina Woodrow, Colchester Emergency Night Shelter manager, added: “This is the second time that chefs from 16 Air Assault Brigade have organised a Christmas dinner for our residents and it is truly the highlight of the Night Shelter’s festive programme.
“Our residents can find the holiday season difficult and the effort that the chefs put in to creating a warm, welcoming and special experience is beyond words. We are exceptionally grateful for the support we receive from the Army chefs.”
Amphibious capability celebrates 40th anniversary
A unique capability partnership that began 40 years ago has been further recognised when engineers from the Bundeswehr 130 Pionerbataillon and elements from 75 Engineer Regiment formed a 250m amphibious crossing across the River Elbe at Artlenburg near Hamburg.
The crossing involving 21 M3 Amphibious Rigs was a recreation of the start of the formal collaboration between the two nations that begun in 1977 and took place in close proximity to where Field Marshal Montgomery’s army conducted its own amphibious crossing of the River Elbe as the Second World War neared its end in April 1945.
Applying skills that had been honed most recently on NATO exercises in Poland and Lithuania the M3 Amphibious Rigs sublimely entered the water and in a vivid demonstration of the interoperability which exists between the two units quickly formed a bridge that spanned the free flowing river; impressing both the military and civilian spectators alike.
“The critical importance for a war fighting formation is its ability to manoeuvre and that means crossing major obstacles like the River Elbe, without the ability to cross these obstacles we cannot deliver our job” remarked Major General Nick Borton Commander of 3rd (UK) Division, who is responsible for delivering the British Army’s fighting capability in the form of an Armoured Division, “thus the M3 Amphibious Rig is a very important capability and we really support the ongoing work with the German Army delivering this.
It is a great privilege to be here to watch the demonstration, but more importantly to celebrate the close working relationship between our Amphibious Engineers.”
Speaking of the key relationship that cannot be rivalled anywhere else in NATO Lieutenant General Jacobson Commander Operations/Vice Chief General Staff Bundeswehr commented: “It is great to be here to celebrate 40 years of partnership, it is a marvellous example of a unique capability and a win-win for both nations bringing the same equipment, the same training and the people together to form an operational unit that has already exercised throughout Europe.”
With the bridging demonstration complete the day concluded with a short presentation where the two units exchanged certificates to denote the significant of the day and a short musical performance by the Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.