SAR squadron back to school
School children from a Cornish primary school were treated to a special appearance from the Royal Navy Search and Rescue Squadron who assisted in a classroom project on ‘Wrecks and Rescues’.
771 Naval Air Squadron, (Search and Rescue) based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose was invited by Kennall Vale primary school, Ponsanooth near Culdrose to help out with Year 2 and Year 3 classes Autumn term subject.
On their 60th anniversary, the Royal Navy’s helicopter Search and Rescue (SAR) squadron, 771NAS have conducted a series of talks and visits across the region, briefing people about their specialised SAR role and how the Sqn operates. Lieutenant Commander Andy Watts, an Observer with 771 NAS and Leading Aircrewman (LACMN) Sarah Christenson, who is an Aircrewman on the Sqn, provide the classes with a brief overview of the Sea King helicopters main role and the other aircraft used in SAR since 1953. They also include technical details about what it takes to keep the aircraft flying and the dedicated work of the Engineers back at Culdrose.
“It was a fantastic experience to talk about our role and demonstrate the rescue equipment we use with such enthusiastic children,” said LACMN Sarah Christenson. “I was so pleased to be able to answer their questions and see the delight in their faces as they tried on the helmet and overalls.”
There was plenty of opportunity for willing volunteers to try out the aircrew equipment, rescue strops and harnesses and then dress up in aircrew overalls and helmets. With plenty of insightful, carefully considered questions and quite a queue to try out the kit and tools, all the pupils were provided with a detail large poster about the four Royal Navy SAR helicopters; Dragonfly, Whirlwind, Wessex and Sea King, plus details about some of the most significant rescues undertaken around the UK as a reminder of their day.
Lt Cdr Andy Watts, who has been accepted onto the Troops to Teachers programme from 2016, was delighted to have this opportunity to experience primary school working environment said, “It was so rewarding to provide this presentation, practical demonstration and answer so many well thought out questions. It certainly made me even more excited to enter the teaching environment when I finally retire from the Royal Navy!”
Class 2 teacher and organiser for this event at Kennall Vale primary, Mr Charlie Blease said, “Everyone was so pleased to have both Sarah and Andy come along; they truly inspire the schoolchildren with their presentation and practical demonstrations. They answered all the children’s questions with enthusiasm and patience, and were gratefully received when they responded to every query. The posters of 771 Naval Air Squadron’s Search and Rescue history will be a lasting reminder of their visit to the School”.