Crowds experienced a heart-warming moment at Havant & South Downs College’s Pass Off Parade this year when two Uniformed Services students were reunited with their dad who emigrated to Canada last year.
Bethany and Lewis Norris were taking part in the celebration on 13 June at Fort Purbrook to mark the end of their course, when they received a surprise they were least expecting.
Their father, Arron Norris, who had emigrated to Canada last year for a job in aircraft engineering, had decided to secretly fly back to see his children’s parade.
The parade is a celebration of all the students’ hard work, endeavour and determination to be successful. It recognises the many hours of hard work spent working in their teams developing their skills. And this was a memory Aaron could not miss.
He said: “I have never seen Bethany in her uniform, so this is such a special moment.
“I’ve had to lie to everybody to make sure no one knew I was coming; my wife and I have been planning this surprise for six months. I feel very emotional; I’ve seen lots of pictures of them and spoken to them over the phone but it’s not the same.
“I am so incredibly proud of them, it feels like the perfect moment to come and see them as they are finishing their course, and my other daughter has just finished her A Levels at HSDC today too.”
Bethany said: “I am completely gobsmacked; I did not expect it at all. This has definitely made my Pass Off Parade!”
Awards were handed out after the march, which saw the Uniformed Services Top Troop award go to the Level 3 Eagle Troop. The Uniformed Services Endeavour Award was handed to Callum Griffiths and the Public Services Yvonne Elliot Award was given to Macy Ship.
Director of Curriculum Ash Grute said: “What is really special about today is that the friends and family of our students can share the day with us.
“I think this is a testament to my staff, they work so hard not just today but throughout the year to give students the best possible experience and to prepare them for the best possible career in the services.
“In terms of the students, it is a fantastic day for them to celebrate their achievements and to look back at all they have achieved this year.”
Joining in on the ceremony and commending the students’ hard work were dignitaries SSGT Jonnie Old 6 Regiment AAC, Ministry of Defence Police SPO Clifford Groves, Ministry of Defence Constable Nicola Manning and Hampshire Police Constable Colin Webb.
The Uniformed and Public Service courses at Havant & South Downs College give students a thorough introduction into service life, its customs, traditions and procedures. For more information on the Uniformed and Public Service courses, click here.