Ed Sheeran in Afghanistan
March 16, 2014
Ed Sheeran has performed two special concerts for hundreds of UK troops after making a visit to Afghanistan with The British Forces Foundation.
The singer-songwriter, accompanied by comedian Craig Campbell, travelled with the charity as part of a morale-boosting weekend visit to Camp Bastion. For Ed, this was his first visit to Afghanistan.
During a busy first day he spent time with the Force Protection Wing, where he visited the towers around the camp’s perimeter, and the Manoeuvre Battle Group, where he was shown around a Husky protected support vehicle and a Warrior infantry fighting vehicle.
He also spent time with 3 Royal Horse Artillery, successfully firing a light gun before some musical entertainment from the troops.
Capt Lori Sharp, accompanied by her guitar, performed the Scottish folk song ‘Caledonia’ for Ed. She was then joined by a quartet of soldiers hailing from Fiji for a traditional Fijian number, before Ed entertained the troops with two of his own songs.
Capt Sharp said: “I was really nervous playing in front of Ed Sheeran. Some of the Fijians and I spent some time rehearsing in the morning and then played a few songs when he visited our gun position. It isn’t something you think you would get the opportunity to do here in Afghanistan – play and sing in front of a famous musician – but it was good fun and I enjoyed the experience. Ed then played a few songs for us. It felt a bit surreal but he was really good.”
On Saturday Ed spent time at Theatre Engineering Group and the Joint Aviation Group, where he met aircrews and stepped aboard Apache and Chinook helicopters. He also visited the team who run theatre arrival training who took him down to the ranges where he was able to fire a pistol and a rifle.
Throughout the visit, Ed and Craig signed autographs and posed for photos with the troops. There was hardly a moment to spare in their busy programme as they were adamant to meet as many service personnel as possible during their time in Afghanistan.
Ed said: “It has been an absolute privilege to come out here with The British Forces Foundation to Afghanistan and perform for the troops. I am so grateful for their hospitality and most importantly for what they do.”
Craig added: “It has been a total blast to come here again and an honour to be amongst such fantastic people and part of a great British Forces Foundation show.”
BFF Chief Executive Officer, Mark Cann, said: “It has been another successful and rewarding visit to Afghanistan. This may be the last time BFF gets to support Op HERRICK and what a grand finale. With Ed’s unique charisma, master craftsmanlike grasp of music and lyrics and a calm’Joie de Vivre he enabled BFF to achieve all its aim by delivering, with the support of Craig Campbell, one of the best show visits we have made to Afghanistan, if not the best. They had time for everyone, joined in endless photographs, selfies and I would be surprised if there is a piece of paper left that they have not signed. The shows themselves were fantastic and I am so grateful to Ed, Craig and everyone who helped make it possible. The feedback has been amazing so we can be satisfied that the trip was a significant boost to morale.”
“BFF is very much about raising the morale of the troops and conveying the support of the British public for their fantastic Armed Forces. Craig and Ed have been fantastic ambassadors and conveyed that message in the best possible way.”
Organiser Warrant Officer Russell Ward said: “Ed and Craig were clearly here for the soldiers and the benefits have been huge. Both shows that were put on were really well attended and everyone I have spoken to absolutely loved it. On the first night Ed and Craig stayed for well over 90 minutes signing autographs and having pictures taken after the show. I’d also like to thank everyone here at Bastion who worked behind the scenes to make the shows happen.”