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Community Engagement by Major A G R Owen, The Blues and Royals

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n our privileged position at the heart of the capital, and perpetually in the public eye, Community Engagement takes on a unique perspective. The city, the nation, nay the world is our community and our engagement within it can have strategic consequences. During the 2016 ceremonial season the Mounted Regiment conducted defence engagement with over 10 nations including France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Canada, Morocco, Belize, Bahrain and Jordan. We also held or supported 45 unique events building relationships within the community and, at the culmination of the ceremonial year, welcomed some 7000 members of the public to the Open Day in Norfolk. In our immediate local area, since the founding of the Armed Forces ‘Community Covenant’ in 2010, the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment is closely linked with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) and the Borough of Brent to our North West. The Covenant notably seeks to support veterans, families and youth within the services community but the unique environment at HCMR doesn’t allow this support to be utilized in the way it might be in a garrison town or more provincial community. With barracks in the most exclusive area of London, and married quarters further afield, homeless veterans and struggling service families are not an issue Brent and RBKC can help with. Despite the onus on the community supporting its Armed Forces, there is an implied task for the Regiment to engage with these boroughs to strengthen bonds proactively. It was for this reason that in February 2016 the Regiment opened the ceremonial gates to nearly 100 young people from assorted Army Cadet Force (ACF) detachments across the city. Household

Cavalry cap badged detachments, units from Brent and RBKC and even one rogue Air Cadet unit all arrived for the Open Day. Troop Leaders guided these mixed groups of cadets through the daily Queen’s Life Guard inspection, the Forge, Drum Horses, stables, Saddler’s Shop and Full Dress Store; fielding some of the most amusing, imaginative and downright bizarre questions asked on a tour. For some of these inner city kids it was the first time they had touched a horse and the effect this had on them was palpable. Post lunch, cadet helmets were strapped on and A thank you letter from Francesca (9¾), a patient LCsoH Boachie-Ansah at the Royal Marsden, to Her Majesty The Queen and Fisher and their team of PTIs led the cadets through a the trip out to Sutton in 2015 to visit the warm up routine before putting them in-patients on the ward with a saddle, through a competitive assault course in full state kit and a slide show. Having Hyde Park. After a morning of informapiqued the interest of the children and tion overload, this physical challenge their parents we invited them to visit us was just the thing to leave them buzzto see the horses. ing on a high for a final award ceremony and departure. Hopefully, a few of the Having completed a number of tours new generation of Household Cavalry and visits, it was universally agreed that recruits may have had their penny dropthis visit was one of the most worthping moment that day. while, moving and hugely humbling the Regiment has done in recent years. With ‘Youth’ still at the forefront of the Six children, aged 7-11, all outpatients at Commanding Officer’s Community Enthe Royal Marsden undergoing chemogagement intent, our next young visitherapy or other treatments for cancer, tors to the barracks were young patients arrived with their parents and were imfrom the Oak Centre for Children and mediately dwarfed by the cavalry blacks Young People; the youth arm of the being inspected on the parade square. Royal Marsden Cancer Hospital. Capt The children were tentative about apJ H S C Harbord LG, the author, and a proaching the horses at first but, when number of NCOs and Troopers made standing in front of Fortress for a photo,

The new Mayor meets the Troops during the Armed Forces Flag Raising Ceremony

54 ■ Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment

Joshua meets Llamrei (aka Sausage) on The Blues and Royals balcony

Household Cavalry Journal 2016  
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