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Soldier fresh from operational tour wins prestigious silver bugle

A soldier from the Grenadier Guards has won one of the Army’s most prestigious and nerve-wracking competitions - the Major General’s Silver Bugle Competition at Wellington Barracks' Guards Chapel.

Lance Corporal Andrew McKenna, 23, from Farnham, who serves as an Assault Pioneer, was judged as the best bugle player in the Guards Division by a panel that included Major General Ben Bathurst the General Officer Commanding the Army in London and the Queen’s Household Troops, The Brigade Major of the Household Division, and The Garrison Sergeant Major.

The talented soldier, who recently returned from an operational tour working for the United Nations in South Sudan, will now have the honour of playing and carrying the coveted Silver Bugle throughout the year on all State Ceremonial events and on Public Duties. When not in use, the Major General's Silver Bugle will be securely displayed within the Battalion HQ of the Grenadier Guards, to serve as a badge of honour for the whole unit.

I get nervous every single time I play but I was pretty happy with my performance.

Speaking after the event Andrew said: “I get nervous every single time I play but I was pretty happy with my performance. I’m now really looking forward to playing on some important occasions in the Army calendar”.

Andrew didn’t expect to do so well but his superiors had every faith in his talents. He was entered into the competition by the Grenadier Guards Drum Major who had heard him perform. Luckily being posted to South Sudan meant that in between his daily duties carrying out force protection for the British Engineer Group Andrew had lots of opportunity to practice his bugle calls for the challenging competition. And the hard work and dedication certainly paid off.

This has turned into an exceptional week for the young soldier from Surrey. He is also on parade at Windsor Castle where he will receive his operational service medal from the Colonel Grenadier Guards, HRH The Duke of York.

As well as being presented with the coveted Silver Bugle the proud soldier was also handed an engraved Brass Bugle to keep forever, a certificate, and prize money.