Field gun runners steal the show at HMS Collingwood open day

The HMS Illustrious field gun team''''Picture: Paul Jacobs (141668-2)
The HMS Illustrious field gun team''''Picture: Paul Jacobs (141668-2)
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FILLED with pride and determination, members of the armed forces went head- to-head during an action-packed open day at HMS Collingwood.

Teams wowed crowds as they took part in an annual field gun competition at the Fareham naval base in a bid to win a prize and bragging rights.

And in the end it was 7 Air Assault Battalion which ran out victorious and picked up the coveted Brickwoods trophy, having last won it in 2005.

Other attractions included motorbike, classic car and parachute displays, a ship simulator, tours around a building storing weapons and a fairground.

Schools took part in their own mini-field gun contest, performances were held by a samba band and dancers and visitors got to look inside a Merlin helicopter and go around local produce stalls.

Lieutenant Commander Kay Burbidge, who helped to organise the event, said it was a huge success.

‘It’s an opportunity to open our gates and allow the general public in,’ she said.

‘The big attraction is the field gun competition, but it’s also about showing what we do and raising money for local charities and raising awareness of them.

‘It has been successful, we had a constant stream of people coming through the gates.’

Money was raised for worthy causes including Stubbington Ark, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, which sponsored the field gun competition, and Solent Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre.

Last year £20,000 was collected for charities.

Commanding officer Steve Dainton CBE said: ‘This is probably the biggest open day we have done here, and the fact we have had great weather has helped and brought a lot of the community here.’

Jon Clark, a medical assistant submariner based at HMS Collingwood, enjoyed the day with his partner Annie Oldfield and his children George, one, and Millie, three.

Annie also brought along her son Charlie, two.

Jon said: ‘It’s a great opportunity for the kids to see where I work and see what goes on to some extent.

‘It’s been a great day out and the turnout has been good.’