“This has been one of the best events that has been held in our area for some time. I would just like to thank our hosts Gawn and Polly Rowan-Hamilton for their hospitality in putting on this event on what is literall;y their front garden in Killyleagh Castle. And I would like to thank the many sponsors and helpers who have also worked to make the poppy party such a success. You have done us all proud ”
He explained that the help of the KSP was requested by the National Co-ordinator Bruno Peek OBE MVO QPR and added that “I salute him for his vision in coming up with this nationwide fundraising idea for the Royal British Legion.”
Local artists Leo Casement and Wendie Cromie donated ‘poppy’ paintings to help boost the funds for an action and a raffle. The event began with local primary schools visiting the living history display set up by WW2 Expewrience NI ( http://www.ww2experienceni.com
). On the Friday evening a number of war veterans spoke about their experiences of conflict and it was an emotional event with a large audience in the Bridge Centre. Beforehand guests enjoyed bangers and mash from mess tins WWII style courtesy of Mash Direct.
The Saturday continued with more displays in Killyleagh Castle and the evening began with a sing song with entertainer Billy K. Then buglers from 2 Rifles opened the Tatoo witha fanfare and Lt Col Denys Rowan-Hamilton officially opened the evening’s event. Northern Ireland army cadets were also on hand and there was much marching, bugles, pipes and drums from the Royal Irish Regiment 2nd Battalion followed by a lively performance from local Irish dance troup Celtic Storm.
The Irish Irish Great War Society also put on a diplay of WWI life on the front line. There was then a massed pipe band display with pipers an drummers playing from the Kirkistown, Dr Wright and Cleland pipe bands followed by the grand finale and a spectacular fireworks display.
The Last Post played by a piper of 2 Rifles from the ramparts of Killyleagh Castle was a poignant moment to end the evening, a moment many will remember for years to come.
On Sunday, the last day, it rain quite heavily but there was still an excellent drowd who turnout out to enjoy the army vehicle cavalcade through the town supported by vintage cars and tractors. The open air street party did not happen and everyone made a retreat into the Dufferenin Coaching Inn indoors where the festivities continued.]]>