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‘A Moment I Will Never Forget’

For British Army Sergeant Rusiate Bolavucu, his brief encounter with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is a moment he will cherish for the rest of his life.
10 Sep 2022 12:17
‘A Moment I Will Never Forget’
British Army Sergeant Rusiate Bolavucu (inset) sits down to perform the vakacobocobo as a sign of respect after greeting the Queen.

For British Army Sergeant Rusiate Bolavucu, his brief encounter with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is a moment he will cherish for the rest of his life.

The act of respect accorded to the Queen by the Nausori Village native in 2013, turned heads during his brief encounter with the Queen on July 17, 2013.

Sergeant Bolavucu is in his 14th year of service in the British Army.

A video of Sergeant Bolavucu according the gesture of respect called the ‘vakaco­bocobo’ was widely shared on social media with more than five million views world­wide.

“It was July 17, 2013, the Queen was visit­ing the Lake District in Cumbria right be­fore she went on her summer holidays,” he said.

“It wasn’t a military parade, it was a meet and greet moment which included myself and a few others from the army. There were representatives from the navy, cadets, fire services, police and many more.”

Solider

He said he had to inform his superiors first of the act he was going to perform be­fore he could do it to the Queen.

“There was a Retired Major, who was in charge of the Army guys on the day, before the Queen arrived I went and asked the Of­ficer who was with me if I could do what I did on the day.

“He said we will go and ask the Retired Major and the Major said yes.

“I informed the rest of the soldiers I was with on what I was going to do, just so they don’t think I’ve fainted and then come to my aid.”

Speaking with the Queen

Sergeant Bolavucu said the Queen ap­proached him and asked him his name and where he was from.

“I sat down when she walked past and the soldier next to me said that when she came past me she kept looking back and smiling knowing very well what I was doing.

“It is something I will cherish forever and I’m grateful to God for the opportunity.”

Sergeant Rusiate Bolavucu.

Sergeant Rusiate Bolavucu.

He said he would remember the Queen as her Colonel in Chief.

“I believed that God taught us all a lessons that day about humility, a simple act that moved so many Fijians around the world. I never knew that it would reach 5.6 mil­lion views on YouTube and I never knew it would go viral like it did.”

 

Feedback: inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj



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