Officers from 45 Commando Royal Marines played hosts at a special outing for 18 men and women from Carnoustie, Brechin, Kirriemuir and Laurencekirk, where Re-engage volunteers work to end loneliness and isolation among those aged 75 and over.
This is achieved mainly through organising free monthly tea parties, which are held across the county.
As well as tea and cakes in the Officers’ Mess, there was also a briefing from Lieutenant James Ross about the Commandos’ recent arctic warfare exercises in Norway and Poland, where they were on standby for the Ukraine conflict.
The visitors were then given a tour of the base, with a special stop at the Woodlands Garden, a former Commanding Officer’s vegetable patch which is now a ‘focal point for remembrance and reflection.’
The centrepiece of the garden is a magnificent 8.5 tonne granite memorial stone bearing the names of all 64 Commandos who have died since the regiment moved to its current base in 1971.
In front is The Globe, a large depiction of the Commandos’ cap badge, which was created by a former member of the regiment. Dotted around the garden are six large stones which were shipped back from conflict zones where comrades died. There are also three hand-made benches donated by the Duchess of Northumberland.
Warrant Officer 2 Scotty Lawrie, who hosted the group, said: “This was the tea parties’ second visit and it was an absolute pleasure to see them again. It’s important that we keep contact with groups such as Re-engage as it’s part of our outreach work - and we all understand the concept of loneliness.”
Jackie Williamson, from the Brechin group laid flowers at the memorial stone. Three members of her family have been killed in action.
Jean Malcolm, Angus group co-ordinator, said: “It was a brilliant afternoon and so lovely to see such bright, committed young men who go about their business bravely and modestly. It was an honour to be invited and we’re already looking forward to the next visit.”
Re-engage runs hundreds of free monthly tea parties throughout the UK with hosts providing a venue and volunteers driving older people to and from the social occasions.
Anyone interested in finding out more about volunteering opportunities with the Angus group can do so at reengage.org.uk.