Soldiers go back to school
Soldiers from the Royal Bermuda Regiment yesterday went back to school in Jamaica.
But the team from Guns and Assault Pioneers were not there to learn, but to spruce up the Drapers All Age School in Port Antonio, near their base for jungle warfare training.
The Regiment’s engineers spent several days at the school painting the exterior and interior and getting to know the youngsters.
Private Robyn Phillips teamed up with children to help paint a toilet block.
“They carried things like paint pots for me and brought me fruit and snacks,” she said.
The 37-year, who works in construction and volunteered for the engineers, added: “Now I’ve got three adopted kids. They show me all of their work so they’re sure they got it right.
“They’re very positive kids and it’s wonderful being here to help them out. This is so real.”
The Bermuda troops also cleaned up public areas, fixed faulty plumbing and repaired and painted doors around the school.
Private William Pitt and Lance Corporal Jamie Billings put the finishing touches to the school crest and name on the wall at the main entrance.
Lance Corporal Billings, a painter, said: “It’s helping the community and helping the kids. We’ve been telling them about the history of Bermuda. They’re really pleased to see us and come out asking questions all the time.”
The 34-year-old added: “Seeing a place like this is a real culture shock for me, but the kids have all been really pleasant.”
Private Kevin Darrell, 34, from Southampton, who works in the hotel industry, said: “We’re also doing general maintenance.
“The whole place needed some work and we’ve certainly made a really big difference. I just wish we could do more.”
Sandra Becca, principal of the school, which teaches children aged 8 to 15, welcomed the Regiment’s help.
“It’s been good and boys particularly have really enjoyed it,” she said.
“They got the chance to interact with men, which is good. A lot of the children grow up without fathers, so its good to have the Regiment interact with them.”
During the school renovation project Colour Sergeant Aaron Burchall also came to the rescue of school chairman Beverly Cover after she lost her balance and fell several feet as she posed for a photograph.
Colour Sergeant Burchall threw himself under her as she toppled and broke her fall.
Ms Cover, a retired principal, said: “I’m just worried about him because I fell on him. He’s not just my hero of the day, he’s my hero for the month, easily.”
New RBR Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley added: “It was great to see the smiles on the kids’ faces as the work progressed and I’m proud of how well Bermuda’s soldiers have represented their country.
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