THE last of just over 400 Armed Forces Community Covenants in the UK will be signed whilst the Landing Platform Dock is at anchor off St Mary’s. She will be joined by local dignitaries, community leaders and senior representatives of the Armed Forces.
On Tuesday July 15 Commodore Jamie Miller, Royal Navy, Naval Regional Commander Wales and Western England, will sign the covenant on behalf of the Royal Navy alongside colleagues from the Army and Royal Air Force.
Mr Theo Leijser, Chief Executive of the Council of the Isles of Scilly will lead the civilian signatories which will include representatives from each of the Islands and from government, the voluntary sector and of course veterans.
In the evening Canon Paul Miller, Chaplain to the Isles, will lead a short service to commission the Covenant on the ramparts of the Star Castle Hotel in St Mary’s followed by a Sunset Ceremony. A ceremonial guard of sailors and marines from HMS Bulwark with buglers from the Band of 6 Rifles will add some dramatic colour to this event.
As well as reflecting on the importance of the Covenant to the Armed Forces and local communities, Canon Miller’s service will also make reference to the ongoing Royal Marines 350th Anniversary celebrations and to the First World War Commemorations starting on 4 August 2014 in recognition of the 100th Anniversary of the British Empire entering the First World War.
Speaking in advance of the visit, HMS Bulwark’s Commanding Officer Captain Dean Bassett Royal Navy who took command of HMS Bulwark in January 2014, said: “It is a great honour to be sailing the Fleet Flagship to the Isles of Scilly to provide the backdrop to the signing and commissioning of the last Armed Forces Community Covenant in the UK.” He went on to say, “My ship’s company and I are looking forward to playing our part in this historic occasion and I am delighted to be able to welcome so many distinguished guests onboard.”
It has been a busy couple of months for HMS Bulwark as she readies herself for a planned deployment in the Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf later in the year. She has most recently returned from France where she participated in the D-Day 70 Commemorations in Normandy where members of the Ship’s Company paraded with veterans and hosted the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for afternoon tea.
Prior to the formal signing, a Sea King helicopter from 771 Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose will be at Five Islands School on Monday July 14 in order to promote the covenant. Amanda Martin, Chairman of the Council of the Isles of Scilly and Commander Tom Herman, Deputy Naval Regional Commander, Wales and Western England will give a joint talk to the schoolchildren about the covenant and what will be happening at the signing the following day.