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Opera singer Katherine Jenkins has performed for hundreds of UK service personnel during a visit to Afghanistan.
The mezzo-soprano singer, accompanied by comedian Kane Brown, Capital FM radio presenter and comic Greg Burns and up-and-coming singer/songwriter TJ Bilham, travelled with the British Forces Foundation (BFF) as part of a 3-day morale-boosting visit to Camp Bastion.
During a busy first day she toured the Joint Aviation Group, met aircrews and stepped aboard Apache, Lynx and Chinook helicopters. Then, at the Theatre Engineering Group, she met Army divers and military working dog teams, before giving an evening performance with her fellow artists at Engineering Support.
On her second day Katherine spent more time signing autographs and visited personnel going through theatre arrival training. During the afternoon she visited the Theatre Logistic Group (TLG), where she sang an impromptu ‘Happy Birthday’ to Craftsman Bryan Larkin.
Craftsman Larkin, who works as a vehicle maintainer at the TLG, said:
It was a real surprise when she sang Happy Birthday. I’m 2 months into my tour and the last thing I expected was to be sitting on a vehicle with Katherine Jenkins singing on my birthday.
Katherine, who is a patron of the BFF, has previously performed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and mainland UK. She completed her visit by singing for hundreds more personnel at the Danish sector of Camp Bastion.
Returning to Afghanistan has been just as emotional and humbling as the first time in 2007. I would like to thank everyone I met in Camp Bastion for making it an experience I will never forget and send my love to all the families of those on Operation Herrick.
It is an immense honour to be able to perform for the men and women of our Armed Forces and I will continue to do so for as long as they want me to.
BFF Chief Executive Officer, Mark Cann, said:
It doesn’t matter what this visit means for BFF; it matters to the guys we have come to see. If they all think it’s been a success, a lift, and they get a sense of people back home being behind them, then we have done our job.
Katherine’s commitment to the Armed Forces and willingness to come to places such as Camp Bastion, time and time again, is utterly brilliant. She is a star.