Wiltshire

Barack Obama praises people of Wootton Bassett

US president Barack Obama has praised the people of Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire for their dignity when paying tribute to fallen British troops.

During Prime Minister David Cameron's first US visit, Mr Obama said: "We want to honour our fallen warriors with the respect and gratitude they deserve.

"Whether it's here or in the small British town of Wootton Bassett.

"People line the streets there in a solemn tribute that represents the best of British character."

The town has become famous for its repatriation ceremonies for troops killed in Afghanistan.

Local people stand along High Street to pay their respects as the funeral corteges carrying the bodies of troops make the journey from RAF Lyneham to Oxford.

When the bodies started coming into RAF Lyneham in April 2007, there was no organised show of remembrance in Wootton Bassett, just a handful of local British Legion members, standing on a street corner, bowing their heads as the cortege came past.

Image caption Hundreds of people now line the town's High Street to pay their respects

Now hundreds come to join in the tribute.

Anne Bevis, from the Royal British Legion in Wootton Bassett, said: "I know that the British people appreciate what we do but it's also nice to know that other countries recognise what we do and have got praise for us for doing it.

"We don't look for praise, we're not doing it for the praise. We're doing it because we feel it's the right thing, but it's nice to know that it's acknowledged by other people."

President Obama was speaking at a press conference in Washington yesterday during David Cameron's first visit to the US since becoming prime minister.

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