Late in the evening of Tuesday 16th May 2023, following several weeks of careful planning and diligent rehearsals, we boarded our transport and headed off to Brize Norton on the first leg of our Annual Training Exercise….next stop – Cyprus!
On arriving at Akrotiri and taking over accommodation, it was a visit to the RAF Volunteers Band facilities, to borrow some of their larger instruments which they very kindly agreed to lend us. It had been an extremely long day so we all slept well, waking fully refreshed for the first day of our week-long deployment.
With planned training sessions in all aspects of our capability, we programmed a Friday visit to Akrotiri primary school, performing the same concert to THREE different aged audiences (note: same VERY bad DOM jokes!). The Corps of Drums when down particularly well with the youngsters ….
Despite being a weekend, the next morning several of our ultra-keen runners took part in the weekly ‘Parkrun’ (around the Station) and of course there was always time to relax in the evenings, where we attended line-dancing lessons, ‘Friday Night is Karaoke Night’ (thank goodness for PPE ear defence!) and basic Salsa!
A small team were lucky enough to invited to look around a Puma helicopter on a guided tour offered by the RAF.
Of course, you cannot visit Cyprus without seeking out the rich and diverse culture that makes it one of the oldest civilisations in the Mediterranean. Band members took full advantage of a clear Sunday, to explore what the island had to offer, ranging from the stunning mosaics in Paphos, breath-taking buildings and natural beauty of the Troodos.
Monday 22 May saw us travelling to Ledra Palace in Nicosia, to support a UN event that evening. Situated on the buffer zone and serving as HQ sector 2 UNFICPY, we were tasked to perform reception music for a high-profile conference. Included in the trip was a rooftop briefing and guided tour of the (once) largest and most glamourous hotels in the city.
It also gave us the opportunity to take a Full Band picture at the iconic UN stone and flag…
Our final engagement on the island saw us in the immaculate gardens of Flagstaff House, playing music to accompany an Honours and Awards Ceremony hosted by Commander British Forces.
With the feeling of a job well done, it was time to pack and return back to UK knowing that with 1PWRR due to deploy to Dhekelia in 2024, it would not be long before we would return to the beautiful island and all it has to offer…..antio sas Kypros!
The Band of The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment was formed in 1993 and is one of 19 UK-based Army Reserve Bands. The Regiment, however (also known as the ‘Tigers’), can trace its lineage as far back as 1572, with its modern formations coming into force in 1992, on the amalgamation of the Queen’s Regiment and the Royal Hampshire Regiment.
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