Special Day in Welshpool today. The Freedom of the County of Powys was presented to The Royal Welsh in a very grand ceremony. I was invited to attend as a guest of the Chair of Powys County Council, Viola Evans, who inspected the Parade. The reason That the Freedom had not been previously presented was that The Royal Welsh have only been in existence since St David's Day, 2006. It was formed following the amalgamation of The Royal Regiment of Wales and The Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The streets were packed. Welshpool turned out in force to honour our boys (and girls). When the Parade proceeded through Broad Street, and the crowds began applauding, I felt the hair on the back of my neck respond. I felt the same way when the hunt was applauded as it charged up the same street last Boxing Day.
First The Royal Welsh, then The Powys Battalion Army Cadet Force, and then The Comrades and Regimental Associations. The Freedom was received with drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed. After the ceremony, the Parade marched off to exercise its newly granted rights. I do love ceremony. And it was great to be included in the posh seats, with a good view of proceedings.
The day had its quota of high spots. First time I've heard a Parade Commander issue a command at full throttle to "Face left", only to quickly correct himself to "Face right". Big grins all round. And I'm left with this image of the Town Mayor, Councillor Ann Holloway, recoiling when a terrier attacked the fur trim of her mayoral robes. If ever the Town Council dispenses with the Mayor's formal dress, it could always be recycled as the hare in local terrier racing competitions.