MEMBERS of the emergency services and armed forces were touched by a show of appreciation from the town's Hindu community.

A Raksha Bandhan festival at Drove School attracted more than 60 guests, who enjoyed a visit from a fire engine as well as games and refreshments.

The festival is a traditional celebration of a brother-sister relationship. A ‘Rakhi’ or a decorated thread is tied on the man's wrist to protect him through life and thank him for looking out for his sibling.

And the charity Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh UK (HSS), which supports groups around Swindon, took the opportunity to extend the thank-you to those who provide essential public services in the town.

Narendra Vagadia, the head of the charity, said: "It was a good chance for people to mingle with the fire brigade and the army and particularly the police – as they don’t have a good reputation generally with the public.

“It went really well. We had 60 people, had refreshments and played games. The photos show that the guests had a good time too.”

Children and their parents were able to meet those who work ifor the emergency services.

Narendra said: “The children loved the fire engine, and even the adults did too. It’s really nice that people appreciate what they do.”

The charity also encourages children from the age of four upwards to learn leadership, confidence-building and teamwork skills.

It will be holding an event where children will have the chance to thank their teachers for their guidance and support.

Narendra said: “Students will call their teachers and thank them for the service they provide.

"We have teachers almost in tears because they never get that, and it was the same for one of the fire service ladies – she was emotional."