Happy Vaisakhi! It was C Company 3PWRR pleasure to be invited by the Sangat (congregation) of Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara Gravesend to attend their annual celebration of the birth of the Khalsa Panth.
LT Sodhi, engaging with visitors while they test out the kit and equipment.
We were blessed with warm weather and cloudless skies that complimented the vibrant atmosphere of sound and colour that welcomed us upon our arrival.
The event had welcomed many other organisations and departments and we found our pitch nestled alongside other key public services including London Ambulance and Kent Police. Under the experience of Capt Phillimore and Cpl Tullet - both seasoned public engagement enthusiasts - we were able to quickly set up our presentation pitch.
In order to generate interest, we had brought along a selection of kit and equipment, including platoon level weaponry which soon became a point of fascination with the events attendees. The knowledge and experience of Pte Pryde, Farrant and Wilson really shone through on the day, as they were able to explain and demonstrate the roles of this kit and equipment.
Cpl. Tullet explaining the uses and roles of the GPMG.
We received a palpable buzz of curiosity and excitement around our stand throughout the day, as festival goers were able to get ‘hands on’ with some of the equipment and posed for photographs with our soldiers. Despite the warm sun and full kit, spirits remained high, and I was exceptionally proud of the engagement, warmth and professionalism displayed by the team.
Pte Wilson, Pryde and Farrant in fighting order.
Lt Sodhi was also able to join us and his membership of the Sangat and teaching experience meant that many friendly faces were welcomed at our pitch. I was also able to say hello to many of my students and ex-colleagues from my time teaching in Gravesend. These interactions really highlighted the key role reserves play in the community, having the duality of both civilian occupations and military skills which both help to raise the profile of PWRR amongst the community.
"This familiarity and easy patter lead by Lt Sodhi enabled us to generate some interest in recruitment, so flyers were handed out and men and women took an interest in joining us for a drill night and seeing what we had to offer.”
Between the buzz around our stand and photographs we were able to enjoy the entertainment of the band and professional sword fighting displays which were a marvel to behold. We even got to sample some delicious delicacies and refreshment which were freely given as part of the communities Sevā.
Overall, the Vaisakhi festival was a fantastic experience for both us and the community, and provided a day rich of culture and entertainment as well as allowing us an opportunity for engagement and recruitment.
My thanks again to the Sangat of Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara Gravesend, and we hope to see you again next year!