Well goodness, but June has been a busy month for the team here at HRFCA!
With Reserves Day and a full Armed Forces Week programme, the REEDS and Comms combo were fairly covering the ground, popping up in Inverness, Dundee, Aberdeen, Elgin, Dumbarton, Rosyth, Perth and Stirling to name but a few. We very glad to have the extra pair of hands belonging to our new REED Jim Dickie who joined the team this month, and of course, Sergeant-Major George was out and about with a helping paw where needed.
As well as flying the flag, we began the month by taking part in a ceremony doing the very opposite as part of the Laying Up Of The Colours at Fort George. The old colours of 2nd Battalion 51st Highland Volunteers were laid up in the Fort’s Regimental Chapel at a very well attended event with many veterans and local employers enjoying a beautiful day in a stunning setting.
We were also delighted to be invited to speak at a “Women in Leadership” event at Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education in Dundee this month, and took the opportunity to showcase the roles for girls and women in the Cadets and Armed Forces. A very enjoyable series of workshops was led by Head of Engagement Michelle, and there were some great questions from the assembled audience. We are looking forward to partnering further with the college in some future events.
So, on to Armed Forces Week with Aberdeen the first port of call for a Flag Raising and series of presentations at Aberdeenshire Council’s HQ. A great turnout heard from speakers from all three Services, as well as from us and our old friends Ian Clarke and Baz Barrett from IED Training, who spoke about their transition from Royal Marines to civilian life. Huge thanks to Aberdeenshire Council for putting on such a big event in support of the Armed Forces.
Tuesday saw REED2 up in Elgin for an evening with 7 SCOTS and Moray Chamber of Commerce. Employers were treated to a range of military activities including physical fitness, medical and trauma management and a demonstration of urban warfare. Guests thoroughly enjoyed seeing first- hand the skills of Reservists, and thanks to Major Alex Rose for co-ordinating this event.
Wednesday 26th saw the whole HRFCA team, plus a few guests, taking part in the inaugural ChamberSTRETCH event hosted by 225 (Scottish) Medical Regiment and Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce. (If you missed our promotional video, you can check it out here – link). Seven teams took part in a range of leadership challenges in glorious sunshine in Slessor Gardens in Dundee, with the bouncy assault course proving to be the downfall of many. Congratulations to Dundee City Council who ran out eventual winners with the HRFCA team coming in a creditable third (we were robbed!). An absolutely brilliant day was had by all, the field kitchen dished up a delicious curry lunch and all employees and employers attending went home having had a wonderful insight into the skills of Reservists. Massive thanks to 225 and Dundee & Angus Chamber for pulling this together as part of our ChamberFORCE initiative. Next year can our team please do the assault course BEFORE the curry as we felt doing it the other way round severely impacted our performance! We suspect sabotage.
A more sedate event took place the following evening at MOD Caledonia as it celebrated 80 years of being part of the Fife Business Community. After a buffet supper and birthday cake, guests were treated to some excellent displays of drill and fitness by Army, Air and Sea Cadets, and then the Royal Marines Band Beat the Retreat and Sunset to provide a truly beautiful end to the evening. It was a privilege to be part of this event and to see so many former servicemen and women gathered together sharing memories and a few tall tales.
Finally, Armed Forces Day itself and Stirling Show. Ominous clouds glowered over the proceedings but that didn’t stop thousands turning out to watch the parachute display, parade, drill displays, tug o’ war and military bands, along with visiting the many stalls and activities. We were pleased to host the Right Honourable Mark Lancaster MP, Minister for Armed Forces, and Mr Graeme Dey MSP, Minister for Parliamentary Business and Veterans, as our special guests along with sprightly veteran Jack Adamson, holder of the Legion d’Honneur and a mere 100 years old! Air Cadets from Squadrons in Dunblane, Stirling, Perth and Alloa provided us with invaluable assistance in hosting all of our guests, and it was a proud moment for FS Spencer Archibald as he received his Lord-Lieutenant’s Certificate from Alan Simpson.
As proceedings concluded, the heavens finally opened in a deluge of biblical proportions, bringing a soggy curtain down on what had been a very enjoyable day. Special thanks to 7 SCOTS who then had the thankless task of dismantling all the tents and the site, in really horrible weather, but done, as usual with efficiency and cheerfulness – and perhaps just the occasional “dearie me, it’s quite damp out here” sort of comment. You guys rock!
So that was June. We are all now lying down in a dark room to recover (well, some of us are rubbing shoulders with the great and good at the Royal Garden Party if truth be told), but we are gearing up for a busy summer with the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and some ship visits up next. If you see us out and about, please do come up and say hello!