Loughborough saluted the Armed Forces on Saturday June 29 as it held events in the market place to mark Armed Forces Day.
The annual event, organised by Charnwood Borough Council and supported this year by Loughborough Building Society on the hottest day of the year so far and Charnwood residents turned up in their droves to show their support.
The event included a host of entertainment, supported by the Loughborough Market Traders, including performances from the Corps of Drums, St Botolph’s School Choir and Handbell group, Syston Brass Band and the Barrow upon Soar Ukulele Band.
The 203 Loughborough Transport Squadron, 158 Regiment, Royal Logistic Corp showed off their military vehicles, and the Armed Forces Breakfast Club served tea and cakes to attendees in return for donations. The event also included face-painting and a range of vehicles from the Land Rover Club.
The day culminated with the official unveiling of Loughborough’s war horse Songster, the now-famous armature designed by artist Jeni Cairns for the World War One commemorations last year, being placed into his new home next to the Carillon Tower in Queen’s Park.
The war horse was unveiled by 12 year old Lewis Main, the great grandson of Bert Main, who was the Loughborough trooper who looked after Songster throughout the first world war and then found him at an auction in London. Lewis was joined by his father Andrew and grandfather – and Bert’s son – Barry.
Songster eventually retired to Woodhouse Eaves, where he saw out the rest of his life on Sgt Major Harry Poole’s farm, where he is now buried. Sgt Major Poole’s nephew John Poole also attended the unveiling.
Cllr Hilary Fryer, the Council’s Armed Forces champion, said: “Every year the residents of Loughborough and Charnwood come out and support the Armed Forces and it fills me with pride.
“The bravery, dedication and commitment that our serving and veteran armed forces personnel is something that shouldn’t be forgotten or taken lightly, so events like this are important.
“The addition of Songster to Queen’s Park is a beautiful and welcome reminder of the sacrifices that have made for us throughout the years. I’m certain that he will be enjoyed for generations.”
The Loughborough Carillon, which is closed while a bid is made for lottery funding to carry out improvements to the museum at the tower, made its tower and ground floor open for the afternoon, putting its collection of World War Two memorabilia and medals on display for guests.
Visitors to the Loughborough Carillon also had the opportunity to hear a recital by Caroline Sharpe, Borough Carillonneur for Loughborough, and to learn more about the plans to extend the remit of the Carillon Tower Museum, which aims to tell the story of the Carillon and its famous Taylor’s bells as well as displaying war memorabilia and artefacts. Future open days and events will be announced in the lead-up to the Carillon’s 100 year anniversary in 2023.