THERE was a sense of excitement in town last Saturday when The Rifles visited Lyme Regis.
I enjoyed breakfast at The Lyme Bay Café Bar before the events got underway, and from the window I watched as special guests arrived in town, all dressed up in smart suits or uniform – it was medals and mayoral chains galore… not to mention umbrellas!
Despite the awful weather, there was definitely a buzz in town, a sense that something was about to happen. And then suddenly the Band and Bugles fired up.
I eagerly waited with my camera poised at the bottom of Broad Street and the excitement continued to build as the drums got louder and louder.
Finally they arrived, marching a quick 140 paces a minute with bunting and Union flags flying above them – a moving scene indeed.
There wasn’t much time to take it all in though, as I quickly dashed to the war memorial in George’s Square, taking a short cut down Coombe Street, to get ahead of the parade.
After the unveiling and re-dedication of the war memorial, which had been refurbished with the addition of five more names of men from Lyme Regis, it was quick march again to the seafront where The Rifles passed the civic party and took the salute.
I dashed along Marine Parade as quickly as I could without slipping over in the puddles, thinking all the way, “I’m definitely not fit enough for this”. Lyme’s usual parades are a little more slow paced!
I must thank local resident Julie Sheppard – dressed in much more sensible wet weather clothing than me, she became my “official umbrella holder” for the day, allowing me to take photos without getting soaked!
After the formalities were over, the regiment was given a traditional taste of the seaside with fish and chips served at the Woodmead Halls. Just a shame we couldn’t provide that seaside weather we all enjoyed so much over the summer.
Mayor Michaela Ellis described the event as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to see The Rifles exercise their right to march through Lyme Regis. Who knows if we’ll see it again, but it definitely won’t be for such a poignant occasion as the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Commemorations led by the town council and local branch of the Royal British Legion will continue throughout the year with Remembrance time now just around the corner (where is this year going?).