The poem written by Jodie Henderson (pictured right by Richard Wintle of Calyx tv) from Haydon Wick and published in the August Link, describing her experience of attending the repatriation of Highlander Scott McLaren, has been applauded by Anne Bevis, repatriation liaison officer for Wootton Bassett Royal British Legion.
Jodie, 15, who attends Nova Hreod School, spent a week with The Link on work placement and working with freelance photographer Richard Wintle of Calyx Multimedia, covered the repatriation on 12 July, her second day with us.
It was an intense and emotional experience which Anne recognised when she said, “I think the poem this young girl wrote is wonderful. It always seems to be the bad things we hear about our youth of today and it is so heartening to see that one so young was touched by the sight she witnessed that day. Jodie’s words were obviously so spontaneous and genuine.
“I think our Padre, Canon Thomas Woodhouse who is the vicar of St Bartholomews Church, would be very interested in this poem and may want to use it in one of his Remembrance Services.”
The McLaren family included the poem in Scott’s funeral ceremony in Edinburgh on 26 July after it was published at swindonlink.com
Jodie’s work which she has called Lone Chimes – after the toll of the church bell at St Barthomews which rung every time a repatriation took place – will be included in an anthology published by Tommies Guides and reviewed by former poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion. It will launched as part of the celebrations surrounding the award of the prefix of Royal to Wootton Bassett by Princes Anne on 16 October.
People lined up by the roadside,
As the church bell rang out loud,
The lone chimes for the soldier
Remembered by the crowd.
The cortage drove by with honour,
Flags and heads bowed in unity,
Respect for his ultimate sacrifice,
Was present all around me.
The grief of the people,
The emotion of the day,
I couldn’t continue taking photographs,
Couldn’t capture the pain this way.
The silence was overwhelming,
I didn’t want to cry,
But I found it so unbearable,
Witnessing a family’s goodbyes.
A stranger passed me a tissue,
She noticed my upset,
That day at Wootton Bassett,
I will never forget
Picture by Richard Wintle, Calyx Multimedia
Read tributes to all the soldiers repatriated through Wootton Bassett at FallenHeroes.org.uk