When my husband, Ewan, asked me if I wanted to go to a work event with him at the US Ambassador’s I said yes! In my mind I was imagining a very formal event: black tie, inside the Embassy or at a hired location. All I knew was that those invited had to have worked in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Just so you know, Ewan works for DFID, the UK Department for International Development! He worked in Kabul, Afghanistan for 26 months as a Programme Manager.
I printed the e-mail invitation and read that not only was it at the Ambassadors Official residence (close to Regents Park!) but the entertainment was by the Foo Fighters! Amazing!
Yesterday evening we walked up to the US Ambassador’s home, through a lot of security checks. As we entered his house I realised that, in fact, this Reception was in the lead up to the Opening night of the Invictus Games tonight, here in London.
Please read more about this great event on their website: http://invictusgames.org/about-invictus/ A brief introduction:
Over 400 competitors from 13 nations will take part in the Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women. Teams will come from the armed forces of nations that have served alongside each other. The Games will use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation, and generate a wider understanding and respect of those who serve their country
So, back to last night!
Once we passed security we entered the US Ambassador’s official residence, Winfield house. We walked through to, as he called it, his “back yard”. Beautiful gardens backing onto Regent’s Park in central London. There atmosphere was like a mini-festival. There were 2 bars, 2 food stalls (serving great food – hot dogs, chips, mexican style chicken!), a Ben & Jerry’s tent and blankets laid out for people to sit down.
The other guests included many of the competitors who attended with their families. There were staff from various Embassy’s and then those, like Ewan, who had contributed in other ways in Iraq and/or Afghanisation.
A highlight for me was that Prince Harry also attended. He champions The Invictus Games and came to show his appreciation and support.
We watched the Royal Guard enter with the flags of both countries and an amazing lady sang both the British and American National Anthems – very moving.
Both the US Ambassador and Prince Harry addressed the crowd, along with a video message from President Obama! Then, the Foo Fighters came onto the stage for our entertainment.
This event was so enjoyable to reunite Ewan with many of his colleagues who he worked, lived and socialised with while in Kabul. It was also amazing to see Dave Grohl – I’ve been a fan for years! – and to see the Foo Fighter play in such a great atmosphere.
Please see below some photos of my evening including my #selfie with @davegrohl. He was such a great guy chatting to people about their roles and was incredibly humble.