The Carver Barracks open day is back! (And Saffron Hall will host Honorary Colonel Jools Holland for a special Royal Engineer concert)

Clockwise from back right, Lance Corporal Chris Rooney, Lance Corporal James Payze, Sapper Laurence Coates, Corporal Graeme Wallace. Clockwise from back right, Lance Corporal Chris Rooney, Lance Corporal James Payze, Sapper Laurence Coates, Corporal Graeme Wallace.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
5:36 PM

Virtuoso pianist Jools Holland will be the special guest at a commemorative concert kicking off a weekend of Army celebrations.

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Lieutenant Colonel Eldon Millar MBE (left), Commanding Officer of 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), and Lieutenant Colonel Simon Stockley OBE,  Commanding Officer of 101 Engineer Regiment.Lieutenant Colonel Eldon Millar MBE (left), Commanding Officer of 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), and Lieutenant Colonel Simon Stockley OBE, Commanding Officer of 101 Engineer Regiment.

The musician, an Honorary Colonel at Carver Barracks, is performing at Saffron Hall on Friday, July 25 to mark the 75th anniversary of Royal Engineer Bomb Disposal.

Coincidentally, Holland started learning to play the piano on his grandmother’s bomb damaged Pianola.

On the Saturday, Carver Barracks will be hosting its annual open day. Last year more than 5,000 people enjoyed a variety of fun activities when the Wimbish base threw open its doors to the public.

A Red Bull acrobatic pilot will wow crowds, while families can have a go at paintballing, operating a military digger or finding buried treasure with a metal detector.

The climbing tower.The climbing tower.

Major Fred Bell, who is organising the event, said the aim was to give something back to the community and give local people the chance to learn more about what soldiers at the barracks do day-to-day.

He said: “The open day is incredibly important to us. In my relatively short career in the Army I’ve moved around five or six times but I’ve never seen a relationship with the local community like I have in Saffron Walden and the surrounding villages.

“It’s fantastic for the guys to see everybody coming out to support them [both at the open day and the freedom of the town marches].”

Sunday 27 will see soldiers from 101 and 33 Royal Engineer Regiments again exercising their freedom of the town by marching through Saffron Walden to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

Commanding officer of 101 Regiment, Lt Col Simon Stockley OBE, said: “The intention is to drop a poppy for every soldier from Saffron Walden killed during the First World War.

“I’m sure it will be a lovely service and a moving day.”

Saturday’s open day will run from 11.30am-4pm. Entry is free but there is a £3 parking charge. Proceeds will be donated to SSAFA – the national Armed Forces charity which provides lifelong support for soldiers and their families.

New events for this year include a display by military working dogs, which operate in support of the Royal Engineers, a mock demonstration of a bomb disposal search and the climbing wall.

There will also be rugby and football matches between Carver Barracks and Saffron Walden’s teams. Live music, a car boot sale, a ‘food village’ and old favourites such as the military diving underwater demonstration will all be part of the festivities.

Tickets for The Band of the Corps of Royal Engineers concert, supported by the Wimbish Military Wives Choir, are £10.

They can be purchased from saffronhall.com, by calling the Box Office on 0845 5487650 or the Saffron Walden Tourist Information Centre on 01799 524002. The concert begins at 7.30pm.

Organiser Lt Tim Barton said the concert is the first of a series of events to mark the 75th anniversary of Royal Engineer Bomb Disposal.

He said: “This will mark the launch of many more events planned throughout the year to honour a corps which was first created during the Second World War, in May 1940.

“Royal Engineer teams have supported every major operation since then. We are celebrating this history with what we hope will be a spectacular concert not to be missed.”

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