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HMS Kent hosts village fête at sea

HMS Kent hosts 'village fête' at sea
20 July 2016
Sailors aboard HMS Kent took advantage of the glorious weather and four-day passage home from a Mediterranean sub hunt to host a traditional village fête.

The Portsmouth-based frigate has been involved in the RN’s largest anti-submarine exercise of the year, working with HMS Ocean, Merlin and Sea King helicopters and the French and American navies to hunt down boats in the western Mediterranean – all practice for the defence of the UK’s new aircraft carriers Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales.

After that week-long workout, plus some gunnery training and maritime security work on the way home, the crew decided they needed some traditional British summer fun, turning their flight deck into a village grey (rather than green).

Entertainment on offer included whack-a-mole, apple bobbing, darts, coffee mat flicking, but the most popular challenge was an inventive obstacle course devised by the ship’s Chief Bosun’s Mate Petty Officer Steven Hyland.

His team created a series of obstructions such as fenders and a web of rope, as well as a blast of water from a fire hose wielded by the 30-year-old senior rating himself.

It was great to be able to enjoy something a little bit different after such a busy period, and to have raised some money at the same time for a really worthwhile charity is fantastic

Lieutenant Jackie Orr

LET Michael Watson proved himself fastest and bravest of the 180 crew running the gauntlet in the fastest time.

All the exertion demanded some refuelling, with a barbecue to bring proceedings to a close cooked by Kent’s chefs and various volunteers like the frigate’s senior policeman, Regulating Petty Officer Jonathan Hunt from Brighton.

“It’s the little things like this that we do every now and then that make a huge difference, and the food was outstanding.

“These activities are kind of a tradition, everyone’s had a fantastic time and I know it will inspire some of the younger guys to want to do it again on their next ships”. 

With each stall or event charging a small fee, the fête raised more than £300 for Demelza House children’s hospice in Sittingbourne, a long-standing beneficiary of the ship’s charity efforts.

“It was great to be able to enjoy something a little bit different after such a busy period, and to have raised some money at the same time for a really worthwhile charity is fantastic,” said 28-year-old officer of the watch Lieutenant Jackie Orr from Bristol.

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