Brit Fair draws crowds at NATO base.jpg

Brit Fair draws crowds at NATO base

THIS YEAR’S Brit Fair took place last Saturday at the NATO base in Carcavelos. The charity fundraising event, now in its second year, drew personnel from serving NATO countries.

A raffle, tombola, maypole dancing, Morris dancing and a fancy dress party, were just some of the activities on offer during a fun-filled day by the pool. There was even an opportunity for families and friends to throw a wet sponge at service personnel in the stocks!

Royal Navy Lieutenant Janette Scott, a nursing officer at the base, organised this year’s event – an annual bash which coincides with the opening of the outside pool. “The Germans have their October Festival and the Americans have their July 4 Independence Day and Thanksgiving Parties, so we thought this would be our chance to fly the flag,” she told The Resident’s Gabriel Hershman.

Janette also presided over the opening, alongside the Reverend Michael Bullock, from Lisbon’s Anglican Church. The NATO headquarters, which have been at Carcavelos since 1967, is a deployable base housing NATO military staff. Forces live in the area surrounding Lisbon and Cascais, and most of the children of serving personnel are educated at schools in the area that follow the British curriculum.

Forces from the base are deployed to various hotspots around the world, including Darfur (in Sudan), Afghanistan and Pakistan. Some personnel left for Pakistan last October to help with the relief effort in the aftermath of the earthquake. It was fitting, therefore, that proceeds from this year’s fair went to the Pakistani Disaster Appeal Fund. Another major recipient was Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Among the stalls at this year’s fair were the Royal British Legion (RBL), manned by Lisbon’s area representative Mark Hanmer and Ron Goddard, a former Royal Navy commander who was once Prince Andrew’s commanding officer. The RBL, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, looks after ex-servicemen or their dependents. This forthcoming weekend (May 13 and May 14) will see a series of commemorative events to mark the anniversary, including a dinner at the Beefeater pub in Cascais on Saturday night and a church service on Sunday, followed by a reception at the British Ambassador’s residence.

Another excellent charitable organisation, the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS), also had a stand at the fair, manned by vice-chairperson, Ruth Hirst, and committee member Margot Dias. The organisation helps to care for women in trouble, whether through illness, bereavement or loneliness.