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Presentation of Regimental Standard to the Mercian Regiment Association 4th July 2010

On Sunday 4th July 2010, the Master, Peter Harrow, attended the Annual Regimental Pilgrimage of the Mercian Regiment which took place at Crich Tower above the village of Crich in Derbyshire. He was joined by the Upper Warden, Howard Mundy; Mick and Helen Manns; and Simon Leach with guests Alison Wilkie and James and Sarah Shuttleworth.

The Bowyers made a substantial donation to the Regimental Benevolent Fund which was used to pay for a Regimental Standard for the Regimental Association. The new standard was presented to the Colonel of the Regiment, Brigadier Andrew Sharpe OBE, who is a freeman of our livery, by the Master at a short ceremony at the Smith-Dorrien Memorial. The standard was then dedicated by the Padre of 2 Mercian, Major John Duncan CF.

The pilgrimage, which was attended by hundreds of serving and former soldiers and their families, was led by the Colonel of the Regiment and the service was taken by The Rt Rev Paul Butler, Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham. The Bishop read out the names of those recently lost in Afghanistan which was followed by the Last Post. More than fifty local dignitaries attended including Lord Lieutenants, High Sheriffs, Lord Mayors and Mayors from across the Midlands. The hymns were accompanied by the Regimental Band and the Regimental Mascot, Private Derby (who is a Swaledale) was on parade with his senior handler, the Ram Major, assisted by the Ram Orderly.

Crich Tower, which has the appearance of a lighthouse, is set on a hill amongst meadows and dry stone walls at the southern end of the Pennines with a view across eight counties. It was a bright and sunny day but, being high up and exposed, the congregation was buffeted by strong winds during the service and Brigadier Andrew Sharpe began his address with a reference to the appropriateness of the line from the second hymn: "Our Shelter from the Stormy Blast" (from "O God our help in age past").

He called upon those gathered to remember the guardians of this green and pleasant land and in particular the recent casualties who went off to Afghanistan with optimism in their hearts and their futures ahead of them. He recalled that the Tower had been erected to commemorate the 11,409 Sherwood Foresters lost in the Great War but stressed the need to remember these and casualties of later conflicts as individuals and as people, not just as numbers.

The ceremony finished with the laying of wreaths. The Bowyers would like to thank Major Bob Prophet and Mr Peter Gresty, Chairman of the Mercian Regimental Association, for arranging our visit.

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