Belfast Telegraph

Soldiers leave climbing frame for Kenyan children as parting gift

It was built by soldiers from The Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers from parts of scrap metal.

A soldier working on a play frame for a school in Kenya (Ministry of Defence/Crown Copyright)
A soldier working on a play frame for a school in Kenya (Ministry of Defence/Crown Copyright)

Soldiers will leave a parting gift of a play frame for children at a local school in Kenya following a six-week exercise in the country.

It was crafted by soldiers from the The Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) at their workshop in Nanyuki.

One of those involved, Corporal Kyle Stannock from 2 Battalion REME, said it was his parting gift to Kenya as he prepares to leave the Army.

It's my gift to Kenya before I get out of the Army, so I thought I would make it big and memorable Corporal Kyle Stannock

The South African born serviceman is the battlegroup metalsmith and learned his trade in the Army.

“I support the battlegroup with anything to do with metal that needs done,” he said.

“The previous battlegroup metalsmith was tasked with community engagement, building a climbing frame, he did not get time to do it or the material, so I took it on. It’s a good thing to do and a nice thing to be part of.

“It’s pretty big, I kind of always go over the top. It’s my gift to Kenya before I get out of the Army, so I thought I would make it big and memorable.

“It will basically be two towers joined by a bridge, with a pole to slide down and stairs to climb up, as well as a slide and swings.

“It is going to be for a local school, for their playground, where they currently have no facilities like that.”

He described serving with REME in Kenya as challenging, adding: “You do a lot of thinking outside the box, and doing anything you can to get vehicles back on the road.”

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Locally employed metalsmith Ben Rodgers helped soldiers from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers to make a playframe for children from a school in Nanyuki as a parting gift following their six week exercise in Kenya. (Deborah Lowe/Crown Forces/PA)

Ben Rodgers, a locally employed civilian working for the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) as a metalsmith in the REME workshop, also helped with the project.

“It’s a good place to work, I have been enjoying it,” he said.

“I have learnt a lot, especially about health and safety, and I also appreciate the British Army here in Kenya, the work they are doing, employing civilians, training the Kenyan army and helping the local community.

“What I normally do is repair work, so it’s different to create and I enjoy doing it.

“Most of the guys I met, I’m always eager to learn from them. Most people who come here have something new to teach me.”

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Two junior officers from 2 Rifles paint the walls of a school in Nanyuki, Kenya while in the country for Exercise Askari Storm. (2 Rifles/PA)

The play frame will be installed at Likii Primary School in Nanyuki in the coming weeks before the battlegroup finish their exercise.

The soldiers and officers of 2 Rifles also lent some of their free time to the school, by carrying out tasks such as repainting the building.

The Co Antrim-based 2 Rifles are currently spending six weeks in Kenya as part of Exercise Askari Storm ahead of their deployment to Afghanistan next year.

PA

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