UK’s top military man jets in to resort

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Britain’s most senior military figure has showed his appreciation to two Queenstown musicians. 

UK Chief of Defence General Sir David Richards and his wife Caroline enjoyed a concert by pianist Mark 
Wilson and violinist Pat Monaghan while dining at Queenstown’s Les Alpes last Friday. 

Afterwards he presented Wilson and Monaghan with personally-inscribed medallions.
 
“He was just an ordinary nice guy,” Monaghan says. 

“Hell, I never expected to meet a joker of that importance.” 

Wilson says Richards was “a very amiable guy – very down-to-earth but not subterranean. 

“I did actually have a joke to him that I should be singing songs like Beyond the Sea. 

“He obviously really enjoyed the music and enjoyed his time here in Queenstown.” 

Richards, 60, was in town last week for a biennial meeting with his New Zealand and Australian counterparts – Lieutenant General Rhys Jones and General David Hurley, respectively. 

A media statement says the trio discussed a wide range of defence-related issues including their mutual interests in operations in Afghanistan, recent developments in the Middle East and Asia and Pacific maritime security. 

Richards, formerly Head of the British Army, has commanded forces in East Timor and Sierra Leone and commanded Nato forces in Afghanistan.