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Page last updated at 08:17 GMT, Thursday, 1 April 2010 09:17 UK
War inspires Irish Guard to write poetry in Kenya
By Amanda Dellor and Faye Harland
BBC Berkshire Reporter

Andy Banner from the Irish Guards
Faye Harland talks to Andy Banner

As a burly soldier with the Irish Guards and 6ft plus tall in height, 29 year old Guardsman Andy Banner isn't your typical poet.

But write poetry he does and he has had some of his work published. He started writing poetry when he used to work in a warehouse.

"I got bored one dinner time and I wrote a poem and sent it around on email and they all liked it.

Then it became a ritual.I'd write one everyday for a year and a half.

"That was until I left and joined the army," he says.

"I'd write hundreds - not all good!"

Andy's passion for poetry kept going when he started training for the army.

"I wrote about the platoon I was in, the experience of training."

The Platoon commander sent off a few that were included in a book of military poems.

Andy explains why he started writing poetry.

"The first time was to show that I wasn't stupid. And in my former job I was just bored and it kept me going."

So how is his poetry received by the rest of the Company?

Faye Harland in Kenya
Faye Harland with children and the Irish Guards in Kenya

"They used to take the mickey a bit but then they heard it and thought it was funny. They can relate to it."

Grand Prix Adventure

Morning arrives and your head is so tender,
Then you see dawn breaking beyond Mount Kenya.

The land was so dense, water usually sparse,
But the week we arrived the weather was a farce.

When the rain falls here
The soil quagmires
The roads become a vortex for your Bedford tyres

It's all part of the fun
Part of the grand prix adventure
Where good times keep coming the further you venture

There's wildlife on tap which I would otherwise never see
Yet here I am at Fob East
Getting all of this for free
The views are spectacular
The landscapes so grand
The way the sun kisses parts of the land
Makes the whole experience so much easier to take
Seems a video of Deerhunter from the missus is at stake

As the Irish Guards continue their preparation for their next tour of Afghanistan, BBC Berkshire has had exclusive access to their training base in Kenya. Listen to special reports on the breakfast programme daily from Monday 29 March - Friday 2 April.

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