November 2009 www.wessexrfca.co.uk Wessex Reserve Forces and Cadets in the news Today’s reservists are quite different to the volunteers of 1859 and a feature in the Bristol Evening Post this month, highlights the work modern reservists do in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The unit – along with 57 Signals in Bristol – also celebrated the Freedom of the City this month. We saw television, print, radio and online coverage for this event. If you have any similarly positive stories that you think might benefit from media coverage then please do get in touch with myself or Trimedia to discuss how best to get involved in our public relations campaign. Mike Burnett PR & Marketing Officer 01823 250107 email@example.com Bristol TA unit celebrates Freedom of the City Bristol Evening Post, ‘TA units given Freedom of City in salute’, p2 ITV West Country, p3 BBC Points West, p4 Western Daily Press, p5 266 celebrates its 150th anniversary Bristol Evening Post, ‘History show’s we’re not playing soldiers’, p6 Thisisbristol.co.uk, p7 Remembrance Sunday BBC News online, p8 Bristol Evening Post, ‘They shall be remembered’, p9. Steven Webber ‘rowed off’ HMS Flying Fox Western Daily Press, ‘CO takes flight from Flying Fox’ p10. Profile of 4626 Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron West Country Life, ‘Bringing troops safely home’, p11. Thisiswesterndailypress.co.uk, p12. Welcome to November’s WRFCA newsletter, bringing you a taste of some of the media coverage achieved across the services and cadets forces in the regions. This year 266 (Gloucestershire Royal Artillery) Battery celebrates its 150th anniversary. The title photograph on this page features Col Savile, the unit’s first Major Commandant. Mike Burnett: Value of Reserves and Cadets in community Publication: Bristol Evening Post Circulation: 54,000 Date: 16 November 2009 Client: Wessex RFCA Publication: ITV West Circulation: n/a Date: 15 November 2009 Client: Wessex RFCA Publication: BBC Points West Circulation: n/a Date: 15 November 2009 Client: Wessex RFCA Publication: Western Daily Press Circulation: 34,000 Date: 13 November 2009 Client: Wessex RFCA Publication: Bristol Evening Post Circulation: 54,000 Date: 27 November 2009 Client: Wessex RFCA Publication: thisisbristol.co.uk Circulation: n/a Date: 27 November 2009 Client: Wessex RFCA Bristol Territorial Army 150th anniversary Friday, November 27, 2009, 16:00 The refined atmosphere of the officers' mess at the Whiteladies Road Territorial Army headquarters has a certain timeless quality. It is a heady combination of the deep-buttoned leather armchairs, the cabinets filled with medals, Victorian uniforms and swords, and the view out on to the historic Artillery Grounds with its decorative canon proudly pointing towards the BBC building across the road. For the reservist soldiers of 266 (Gloucestershire Volunteer Artillery) Battery (GVA), this is a time of great celebration – on two fronts. Earlier this month, the men and women of the TA unit paraded proudly to receive the Freedom of the City of Bristol. It was the highlight of the battery's 150th anniversary year, but this is a unit that never fails to recognise its past achievements. The walls of the corridors are lined with sepia pictures of proud busby-wearing officers, keeping a stern eye on their modern day counterparts. "It's a long way from the idea that the public generally has of the TA," Staff Sergeant Bob Walker explains, as he shows me around. "I always get the same old line from friends: 'So you're going off playing soldiers again?‘ "I'm always quick to tell them that we're not playing at anything. We train for the real thing. Indeed, we've just had nine of our lads back from a tour in Afghanistan.“ Bob, from Yate, is, at 41, the longest serving member of 266, which he joined in 1992. His career has taken him to Iraq in 2003, the United States, Canada and, earlier this year, to the Falklands, where he was involved in test-firing the islands' light guns. "In the early 1990s, the TA was still looked upon as something of a social club because there weren't the problems in the world that we see today. "Now, reserve service is completely different and so much more professional. Everyone knows there is the strong likelihood of deployment within a year or two of joining – and I would say that 90 per cent of our guys look forward to taking up that opportunity. Continues….. Publication: BBC News online Circulation: n/a Date: 8 November 2009 Client: Wessex RFCA Publication: Bristol Evening Post Circulation: 54,000 Date: 6 November 2009 Client: Wessex RFCA Publication: Western Daily Press Circulation: 34,000 Date: 4 November 2009 Client: Wessex RFCA Publication: Western Daily Press Circulation: 34,000 Date: 7 November 2009 Client: Wessex RFCA Publication: Western Daily Press Circulation: 34,000 Date: 7 November 2009 Client: Wessex RFCA Bringing troops safely home Saturday, November 07, 2009, 08:00 Cheryl Kelser's a grandmother and former beauty therapist – so what's she doing in Afghanistan with a group of other volunteers from Wiltshire? Chris Ducker explains A fter a career as a beauty therapist and bereavement counsellor, Cheryl Kelser, of Wroughton, near Swindon, decided in her early 40s to set herself a completely new challenge – by training to become a nurse. But she didn't stop there. After qualifying and beginning work at the Great Western Hospital, Swindon, Cheryl went one stage further and joined the RAF Reserve at Lyneham-based 4626 Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, and geared herself up for front-line duty in Afghanistan. Corporal Kelser, now 47 and a grandmother-to-be in December, returned from her first stint in the war zone earlier this year. And this week she was back in action at the squadron's annual camp, which took place at a reservists' training facility on the Isle of Wight. The programme offered some of the newer recruits a chance to put classroom theory into practice for the first time. The programme included some remarkably realistic training in dealing with battlefield trauma cases. For Cheryl, life as a reservist could hardly be more rewarding. "I just wanted a complete change and a challenge that would take me out of my comfort zone," she said. "Dealing with some very seriously injured people in Afghanistan certainly did that. Fortunately, the training we received was brilliant and it thoroughly prepared me for going out into theatre. "It was great to work with different personnel and to be part of a superb team where communications were of the highest standard. There were times when my counselling skills came in useful in talking to other people. Talking also helped me to cope with testing situations. "There were things that happened out there that I will never forget. But would I go again? Of course." Cheryl recently took up a new post in Swindon's intensive care unit. Like many of her colleagues, she is grateful for the support received from employers – in her case, the Great Western Hospitals' NHS Foundation Trust – in allowing time off for Reservist training. 4626 Squadron is the only aeromedical evacuation unit in the Reserve Forces. Founded in 1983 in the aftermath of the Falklands War, its motto, Tute Domum, which means "safely home", reflects its role – to provide medical care for sick or injured personnel who need to fly back to the UK for treatment.