Final arrangements are in place for this weekend’s events at Wootton Bassett on n Sunday 16 October 16 when the town will receive the Letters Patent on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen to become Royal Wootton Bassett.
Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal will be received by the Lord Lieutenant, Mr John Bush, OBE, KStJ. The town’s Mayor, Councillor Paul Heaphy, will then invite Her Royal Highness into the library to view the Exhibition of Appreciation Gifts received by the town in recognition of the support to repatriated servicemen and their families.
Following this Her Royal Highness will be driven down the High Street to the stage for the parade and the presentation of the Letters Patent. Wootton Bassett’s award winning town crier, Owen Collier will announce Her Royal Highness as she arrives in the High Street.
Celebrations will include parade troops, the Wootton Bassett Band and the Royal Marines Band. Following speeches the flag bearer will break the new Royal Wootton Bassett flag, a ceremonial and historic moment when the new flag is raised for the first time after the presentation of the Letters Patent. The Master of Ceremonies, Councillor Steve Bucknell will then invite Canon Thomas Woodhouse to bless the town’s new Coat of Arms.
Weather permitting, there will be flypasts during the day by a Globemaster, a Hercules and later on at around 4pm by a Vulcan bomber.
The formal event will take place between 1.30pm and 3pm. Large screens will be placed in the High Street so that visitors can view the celebrations as they are taking place.
Johnathan Bourne, Clerk to Wootton Bassett Town Council said, “I hope that many people will come to share this significant event for the town. A lot of hard work has gone into making this a really special day for the people of Wootton Bassett and I hope everyone enjoys it.”
Visitors are advised to allow plenty of time to be there for this event. Thousands are expected to gather on the High Street from around 10am, which will be closed to the public for parking (including Borough Fields).
Special arrangements have been made to provide parking facilities at nearby Lydiard Park, which will be signposted to direct drivers. A shuttle bus service will run between Lydiard Park and drop passengers off at Lime Kiln in Wootton Bassett, which is just a short walk from the High Street.
Starting at 10am from Lydiard Park, the shuttle buses will travel continually throughout the day, with a final pick up from Lime Kiln in Wootton Bassett at 5.45pm to return passengers to their cars.
Flags, Programmes, Royal Wootton Bassett Crown Buns, tea towels and other memorabilia will be available on the day. The exhibition of Appreciation Gifts can be viewed in the town’s library on Thursday 13 October, from 2pm until Wednesday October 19, and a catalogue showing a selection of this unique collection will also be available. On Sunday the exhibition will only be open to the public from 3pm until 5pm.
Public toilets will be open at Borough Fields and there will be portaloos in the Co-Op car park in Station Road and at the pick-up and drop off points of the park and ride. Pubs and cafes have been asked to open throughout the day
Unveiling the Royal Wootton Bassett road signs on 13 October by the Chair of Wiltshire County Council Jane Scott.
Bottom, the first tourists to be photographed in front of the Royal Wootton Bassett sign
Images by Richard Wintle of Calyx