Could royals honour town?

WOOTTON Bassett has lead the country in honouring our war dead. And today moves are afoot to honour in turn the small Wiltshire town - though the news has been met with mixed reaction.

WOOTTON Bassett has lead the country in honouring our war dead.

And today moves are afoot to honour in turn the small Wiltshire town - though the news has been met with mixed reaction.

Hampshire man Bill Thomas has written to The Queen suggesting the town be renamed Royal Wootton Bassett.

A spokeswoman at Buckingham Palace said: “We have received a letter from Mr Thomas requesting official recognition for Wootton Bassett.

“As the constitutional head of state the Queen acts on the advice of her government. The letter has been forwarded to the Prime Minister.”

Since 2007 the townsfolk have turned out to pay their respects as soldiers - killed in Afghanistan and Iraq - have passed through their community. And as the numbers of repatriations have increased so has the media spotlight turned on this small close knit town.

Most Read

At the heart of the tradition is 93-year-old former Felixstowe man Ken Scott - lifetime vice president of the town's branch of the Royal British Legion.

The D-day veteran is a familiar figure, resplendent in blazer and medals with head bowed, as the hearses carrying the fallen process through the town.

Ken, who also arranges the flowers left in tribute at the town's war memorial, was brought up in White House Cottages in Old Felixstowe.

He said: “We pay our respects to those who have fallen in combat because we feel it is something we should do to honour them. We are not seeking honours or accolades for ourselves or for the town - that is not why we do what we do.”

Only two other towns in England use the royal prefix - Royal Tunbridge Wells and Royal Leamington Spa.

Should Wootton Bassett be renamed? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter