Wales

Concerts thank repatriation town of Wootton Bassett

British Legion members lower their standards as the coffins of Trooper Andrew Howarth and Sergeant Andrew Jones are driven through Wootton Bassett
Image caption British Legion members lower their standards as coffins are driven through Wootton Bassett

A Flintshire businessman has organised two concerts in Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, to thank local people for honouring soldiers killed in conflict.

Residents paying their respects as coffins of servicemen are driven through the town have become a regular sight.

Esmor Davies, 65, from Buckley, said the concerts were in gratitude for their support.

Mr Davies has paid £6,500 for the Cor y Gogledd choir to stay overnight.

"As a Welshman I just want to say thank you to the people who stand in the streets for six or seven hours at a time as the bodies of the soldiers are repatriated," he said beforehand.

In the afternoon, an open air concert was staged at the town's cenotaph, and the second concert was at St Bartholomew's Church in Wootton Bassett on Saturday evening.

Both events were free, with a collection going to the charities Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion.

The choir, which attracts members from across north Wales, was accompanied by soloists including 13-year-old Lucy Kelly, tenor Aled Wyn Davies, former musical director of the Fron choir Ann Atkinson, and Elin Mair from Caernarfon.

Charity ventures

The construction company owner has previously helped in a number of charity ventures around the world, but he said he had been determined to thank the people of Wootton Bassett by organising the concerts.

He started organising Saturday's events in January after watching a repatriation ceremony and the subsequent drive through Wootton Basset on television.

He said: "I have a son, but I don't have anybody in the Army.

"I think about the people who still have sons [in Afghanistan] on the edge wondering when the next telephone call is coming in."

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