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Jools invites troops to picnic

PUBLISHED: 15:30 09 September 2009 | UPDATED: 11:03 23 August 2010

ENTERTAINING: Jools Holland entertains for returning servicemen and women.     PICTURE: Barry Duffield

ENTERTAINING: Jools Holland entertains for returning servicemen and women. PICTURE: Barry Duffield

MUSICIAN Jools Holland plays the piano as he entertains troops back from operations in Afghanistan. Members of the Royal Engineers who fought in the volatile region were among those invited to the picnic event at the star s home at Cooling Castle, near G

MUSICIAN Jools Holland plays the piano as he entertains troops back from operations in Afghanistan.

Members of the Royal Engineers who fought in the volatile region were among those invited to the picnic event at the star's home at Cooling Castle, near Gravesend.

Seventy Corps members and their partners attended the private party in the grounds of his 14th century castle.

It included those from the Royal School of Military Engineering, Chatham, 36 Engineer Regiment, Maidstone and representatives of all other UK-based engineer regiments

Jools Holland, who is a Deputy Lieutenant of Kent, said: "The Lieutenancy's campaign to encourage greater public support for our Armed Forces and their families is one of its most important on-going initiatives.

"It's nothing to do with politics or whether people agree with the military action or not. It's simply about showing support for our Service personnel and their families."

He added: "My wife Christabel and I wanted to show our support for the people coming back from the frontline by giving them a nice afternoon of relaxing and enjoying themselves after having had a pretty unpleasant time where they've been. They are pleased that some people from the village have come here to support them too."

Thanking the hosts at the event last Tuesday the Commandant of the Royal School of Military Engineering, Brigadier Nick Baveystock said: "It's fantastic that people are taking us to their hearts and looking after us by doing things like this."

Members of the Traditional Jazz Group from the Royal Engineers' Corps Band volunteered to come back early from leave to play at the picnic. They were joined by Jools on the keyboard playing and singing Honeysuckle Rose and The Sunny Side of the Street.

He said: "Their band is top of the range, fantastic musicians and I've worked with them a couple of times before. I also have the honour to be a patron of the Royal Engineers' Museum. It's one of the hidden treasures of Kent and one of the best museums in Britain, and I cannot recommend it enough.

"Also, curiously enough, it was a Royal Engineer who designed the Royal Albert Hall, where I've played frequently, so it's great to welcome members of the Corps here."

michael.adkins@archant.co.uk

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