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St Vincent sailors head home for independence celebrations

St Vincent sailors head home for independence celebrations
18 October 2019
A team of Royal Navy sailors are on their way to their homeland of St Vincent and the Grenadines, to join in celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the island’s independence.

The group of 20 sailors, who all volunteered, are set to take part in the Independence Day parade and will also be carrying out engagements with local schools and colleges.  They will also be spending some precious time with their families, during their short stay.

Leading Medical Assistant (LMA) Gideon Crichton has described the chance to be part of the celebrations as ‘awesome.’  He is returning to St Vincent with his cousin, AB Rory Crichton, who is also serving in the Royal Navy.  Together the two men have a number of family members serving in the UK Armed Forces, including LMA Crichton’s brother and niece.

Aged 35, LMA Crichton joined the Royal Navy in 2006 and has so far served on three Royal Navy warships and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship, Mounts Bay.  He is currently serving as a First Aid instructor at HMS Raleigh and last returned home in 2017.

I’m looking forward to taking part in the celebrations. Growing up I was never involved in the independence parade. I sailed past St Vincent once, when I was on Mounts Bay. I was less than 15 miles from home and I could see the lights of my house in the distance. It’ll be good to go back home in uniform.

LMA Crichton

Leading Hand Highwell King-John started his Royal Navy career as an Aircraft Handler in 2008 and just over six years later and with several deployments under his belt, he decided to transfer to the Royal Navy Police.  He is currently serving at HMS Collingwood, the Royal Navy’s largest training establishment in the UK.

LH King-John said:  “I am proud to be a sailor and to be part of a small contingent representing the Royal Navy and in particular HMS Collingwood at the 40th independence parade of the most beautiful Caribbean island state. This means a lot to me and it also gives me an opportunity to act as a Naval ambassador and as a Royal Navy Police Officer.  I hope to inspire other Vincentians, as we are affectionately known, to pursue their dreams and aspire to be the best they can be.”

Others in the group include Supply Chain Logistician (SC) Lawayne Nanton and Chief Petty Officer Glevan Robinson.

SC Nanton joined the Royal Navy last year and is currently serving at the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, where he works in the Stores Department.  CPO Robinson is an instructor at HMS Sultan, home to the Royal Navy School of Marine Engineering.

Lieutenant (Lt) Shabaka Kenyatta, Co-Chair of the British Armed Forces Rastafarian Network and a Naval Service Commonwealth mentor, is leading the contingent.  He hails from Trinidad and Tobago, and originally joined the Royal Navy in 2009 as an engineering technician rating.  Lt Kenyatta later earned promotion to the Officer Corps and is currently serving at HMS Sultan.

The trip has been made possible thanks to funding from the Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity.

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