Medals for comedy | Stand-ups honoured for entertaining troops

Medals for comedy

Stand-ups honoured for entertaining troops

Comics Barry Castagnola, Mark Walker and Sean Collins have been awarded medals for entertaining frontline troops.

The trio were presented with operational service medals for performing for British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan by chief of joint operations, Lt Gen David Capewell.

At a ceremony in the Victory Services Club in London, he told the recipients: ‘Don't underestimate the work you do entertaining service personnel in operational areas, the difference you make and the boost to morale remains long after you have left.’

Castagnola, who has been to Afghanistan six times, said: ‘It’s humbling to receive these medals because ultimately we’re only going a couple of weeks at a time.

‘It’s great to go out there and feel like people are really appreciating the entertainment and it’s a fascinating experience for us too.”’

He recalled one show at a forward operating base in Afghanistan.

‘I was doing a gig for some Royal Marines and half way through the CO interrupted and asked the mortar teams to take up fire positions outside,’ he said. ‘They fired mortars while I was still on stage… I panicked when the first one went off as I jumped out of my skin – they found that absolutely hilarious.’

And Canadian Collins, who now lives in the traditional naval town of Gosport, has also been out about half a dozen town.

He has said: ‘It’s a brutal environment and as much as I might think it’s a pretty horrible place to be, I’m only an entertainer doing a show and then getting to lie in a bunk. The soldiers are putting on their equipment, going out to fight and some of them aren’t coming back. That’s pretty sobering.’

Other medals went to Combined Services Entertainment staff who help put on the gigs, as well as two dancers who have been to the front line. Stand-ups Phil Butler, John Fothergill and Andy Askins received the same award last year.

Published: 2 Aug 2013

What do you think?

Today's comedy-on demand picks

FRINGE SEARCH PARTY

On the day the first Fringe shows should have kicked off, Edinburgh's Gilded Balloon venue has teamed up with Padlox Escape Rooms to offer a socially distanced treasure hunt featuring some famous festival faces such as Alan Cumming, Bill Bailey, Shappi Khorsandi, Zoe Lyons, Fred MacAulay and Jo Brand. Can you track down big festival fan Isla Fallot somewhere in the capital?

Click for more suggestions
... including Piff The Magic Dragon live from Vegas and music and comedy collide in Andrew McClelland's Mix Tape.

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.