The crew of HMAS Newcastle share a close relationship with the Newcastle Senior School, the ship’s nominated charity, and members of the ship’s company take the opportunity to visit the school and its pupils when the ship is alongside her home port.
Newcastle sent a small contingency of personnel, led by the Newcastle charity liaison officer Sub Lieutenant Mitchell Vines, to the Newcastle Senior School for a good will visit and barbecue on 6 March.
During this visit, Newcastle personnel assisted students with some enjoyable activities and garden maintenance including lawn mowing, weeding and edging. The day’s activities were followed by a barbecue lunch cooked by members of the ship’s company and enjoyed by all.
“It is always a joy to be able to come up here and see all the wonderful children. The last time we came up we were put to work clearing up the gardens and gutters, but this time we were able to take it easy playing games and having a barbecue lunch with the students,” SBLT Vines said.
The ship’s company of Newcastle are stout supporters of the school and hold numerous fundraising events throughout the year. Several members of the working group have regularly returned to assist the Newcastle Senior School, and for others it was their first visit. First time visitors included Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Andrew Raffan and Seaman Communications and Information Systems sailor Michael Pinney.
“As I am new to Newcastle, it was a great opportunity to see how the City of Newcastle’s namesake ship supports its community,” Seaman Pinney said.
Members of Newcastle’s ship’s company had last visited the Newcastle Senior School in December 2013, when they made a donation of $15,000 to the school. This generous donation was possible due to the healthy profits generated by the ship’s canteen during Newcastle’s deployment to the Middle East Area of Operation and internal fund raising activities.
Following her maintenance period, Newcastle will conduct a unit and mission readiness evaluation before deploying to support operations in waters off northern Australia. On return from this operation, members of the ship’s company will return to the Newcastle Senior School to maintain the already strong relationship shared by HMAS Newcastle and the students of the Newcastle Senior School.
In the meantime, Newcastle will send a contingent of 20 members of the ship’s company to participate in the Anzac Day ceremonies to be held in the City of Newcastle, further strengthening the bond between city and ship and providing the students of the Newcastle Senior School the opportunity to watch and cheer on their local heroes.