A FIELD of remembrance in Lydiard Park will be open for the next month.

A brass band performed The Last Post, Reveille and Nimrod during a special service held yesterday morning to dedicate and bless the area.

This included prayers for peace and freedom, a Bible reading, the traditional two-minute silence, and readings of the exhortation and Kohima epitaph: "When you go home, tell them of us and say - For your tomorrow, we gave our today."

Dignitaries such as the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Swindon mayor Garry Perkins, Royal Wootton Bassett mayor Steve Walls, vicar Clive Deverall, and Royal British Legion chaplains Rev Trevor Day and Jane Curtis planting remembrance tributes.

A new art installation in the field displayed a collage of supportive messages for the RBL which were written on poppy-covered paper and arranged around a large 100-shaped block to mark the charity's centenary.

Members of the public who had sat and watched the service then wandered around the memorials and paused for reflection.

The beautiful and solemn grounds in the park’s walled garden is open to visitors for the next four weeks from 9am to 4pm, all the way up to November 28.

A short service will be held at 2pm each day, along with longer and more formal services at 11am on Thursday November 11, with army cadets and 150 schoolchildren singing a hymn, and on Remembrance Sunday itself, November 14, which will begin at St Mary's Church at 10.45am.

A closing service for the field of remembrance will be held on November 28.

Rev Trevor Day said: "Sometimes one or two people are there for the daily service, sometimes more. We couldn't do them last year so it's nice to have them back.

Marie Doyle from the Royal British Legion said: "It's a very special event and so important, especially for Royal Wootton Bassett which has a poignant link to the repatriation of British armed forces personnel.

"People can walk around, add a tribute or bring their own from home.

"We have a number of new spots for those who have fallen in recent conflicts which feature their photos, and we pay respects to people who died in service in 2021.

"We are very happy to be able to have the public join us for this opening service after last year's reduced and closed event."

Paul Gardner from St Mary's Church held a poppy-decorated cross for Mark "Gibbo" Gibson from Swindon, who died in Iraq on January 30 2005 when the flight sergeant's RAF Hercules was shot down.

Fellow RAF serviceman Gary Nicholson of Sparcells was also on board the plane at the time of the tragedy.