News story

Royal Navy sailors help African community

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

During a break from anti-piracy and maritime security operations off the east coast of Africa, sailors from HMS Northumberland helped villagers to renovate their community centre.

Members of HMS Northumberland's company and the Kigamboni Community Centre wave for the camera in Dar es Salaam [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer)Maxine Davies, Crown Copyright/MOD 2013]
Members of HMS Northumberland's company and the Kigamboni Community Centre in Dar es Salaam

25 volunteers from the Plymouth-based frigate’s company headed to the village of Kigamboni while their ship was berthed in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The sailors helped to install windows and doors in the community centre building, repaired fencing, and built ‘hugle beds’, which will be used to grow vegetables in dry conditions.

Leading Physical Trainer Andrew Davidson said:

All my shipmates were moved by the day at the KCC. We felt a great sense of achievement knowing that we’d helped in every way possible.

A sailor pictured during work to renovate the Kigamboni Community Centre
A sailor pictured during work to renovate the Kigamboni Community Centre in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer)Maxine Davies, Crown Copyright/MOD 2013]

The ship’s captain Commander Paddy Dowsett said:

Our visit to Dar es Salaam has been a real success. Not only has it reaffirmed and strengthened the commitment the United Kingdom has to Tanzania, it has also allowed my team to give something to the local community.

The community centre was set up in 2006 to offer shelter and education to children, but also runs a mobile library and promotes adult learning initiatives.

As a sign of their appreciation the community centre members performed an impressive musical and acrobatic dance – demonstrating just some of the skills they’re taught at Kigamboni.

The centre’s founder, Festo Chengula, said:

The place looks great after all the hard work. The KCC members love having guests and you are all welcome to visit again.

A young boy squeezes a sailor's face
A young boy squeezes a sailor's face in a gesture of affection [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer)Maxine Davies, Crown Copyright/MOD 2013]

In an exchange of gifts HMS Northumberland donated 85 football shirts, courtesy of the Royal Navy Football Association, together with a rugby ball, football and Northumberland crest and commemorative coin.

The ship is still in the early stages of a patrol of the Indian Ocean and due home in Plymouth in the spring.

Published 10 January 2013