THE FRIENDS of the Tenth Appeal was in the media spotlight when BBC Radio Leicester broadcast a special feature on the mission to create a memorial in Somerby.

Alec Wilson, Chairman of the Friends group, and stone sculptor Graeme Mitcheson were interviewed by BBC correspondent Bridget Blair about the fund-raising campaign.

This was featured on the Ben Jackson programme this week and will be repeated on Sunday 3rd September between 1.00pm and 2.00pm in the Talking History programme.

You can listen to what Alec and Graeme had to say by going to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05dpptz

Bridget visited them at Graeme’s Chisel-It business in Coleorton where she had the opportunity to find out more about what is planned for the memorial.

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EVERARDS have pledged their support for the Friends of the Tenth’s fund-raising by giving ‘wings’ to the mission to create a special memorial.

The award-winning and family-run business are backing our bid to raise £75,000 by brewing a special guest beer called ‘Myrtle’ to commemorate her association with the 10th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment when they were stationed in Somerby.

In September this year and again twelve months later, five pence will be donated by Everards from sales of each pint of a red ale which has been named after Myrtle the Parachick, a hen adopted by the Battalion who earned her ‘Para Wings’ at the Battle of Arnhem.

The special ‘Myrtle’ ale will be available to Everards’ 178 pubs throughout Leicestershire and the surrounding areas during those two months.

Everards’ Head of Marketing Erika Hardy said the Leicestershire-based company were proud to be giving their support to such a worthy local cause.

“As a local brewery, this fits perfectly within our programme of brewing guest beers for a month which celebrate or support our community,” she commented.

“When we heard about the Friends of the Tenth campaign, we saw this as an excellent opportunity to get involved and to help boost the fund-raising by donating five pence from the sale of each pint of Myrtle during September this year and again in 2018.”

She added: “An important part of our creation of a guest beer is ensuring that it bears some relation to the event or story behind it, which is the case with Myrtle.

“This is a red ale brewed with pilot and flyer hops with an aroma of stoned fruit, treacle toffee and caramel with lemon, spicy, marmalade on the descent.”

Alec Wilson, Chairman of the Friends of the Tenth, said: “This is a fantastic start for the campaign to get one of our major local companies on board.

“Raising such a substantial amount of money will be quite a challenge, so to have this level of support from Everards is a big step towards our target.”

“The story of Myrtle is one of many fascinating tales which emanated from the Battalion’s association with Somerby and the surrounding villages.”

He added: “The fact that this will take place in September is of great significance because that is when we have an annual commemoration service and parade in memory of those who took part in the drop behind enemy lines in September 1944.”

*Picture caption: Cheers Myrtle – former paras John Gibbard, Jack Gilbert and Alan Staff sample the special brew while Tim Hall-Wilson, fund raiser and former Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, pulls the first pints of Myrtle at the Cradock Arms.

*You can read the full story of Myrtle the Parachick by going to www.friends.co.uk/myrtle

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AN OFFICIAL announcement to launch the Friends of the Tenth Appeal has been made in the countdown to this year’s annual commemoration in Somerby.

Members of the Friends of the Tenth group outlined their proposals to create a new legacy and memorial to the 10th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment.

They are aiming to raise £75,000 for the memorial to be erected in Somerby, but just as importantly they want to raise awareness of the local link with one of the most significant passages of history in the countdown to the end of the Second World War.

The Battalion developed strong connections with villages in and around Somerby in the lead-up to it suffering heavy losses at the Battle of Arnhem in 1944.

A total of 582 servicemen left Leicestershire on September 18th, to be dropped behind enemy lines for what became known as ‘A Bridge Too Far’, but only 36 survivors returned to the village two weeks later following the Battle of Arnhem.

“It is our aim to cement and perpetuate this almost unique legacy of the bond between Somerby and the Parachute Regiment in every way possible,” commented Alec Wilson in explaining the mission of the Friends of the Tenth with their appeal.

“We aim not only to erect a village memorial carrying the names of all the brave young men who served in the 10th Battalion, we also wish to ensure this lesson from history is never forgotten with the annual commemoration and associated events continuing in perpetuity.

“We intend to raise awareness and education among all generations, but especially young people, to help ensure this chapter in local history retains a prominent place.”

He added: “We need to raise a large amount of money in order to achieve our aims, but we have a number of ideas and schemes which should help us to do so.”

Friends of the Tenth are drawing up a programme of fund-raising events, some of which will be focused on the annual commemoration service and parade.

“The level of support which we have already received, not only from local people, but also many with the interests of the Parachute Regiment at heart, fills us with confidence that this fund-raising and awareness campaign will be successful,” said Alec.

“This is the start of an exciting journey which will hopefully lead to the unveiling of a memorial in the village of Somerby at some point. If all goes according to plan, it is our hope that this will take place in September 2019 to coincide with the annual commemoration.”

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THE LAUNCH of the Friends of the Tenth Appeal has given even greater purpose to the annual Somerby Commemoration weekend this year.

A prominent feature of the 2017 event will be a joining of forces between the 10th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, and our sister Battalion, the 156th.

The Melton-based association, led by John O’Reilly, Peter Silk and Rosie Anderson, will be present on Sunday 10th September at the church service and the parade through the village of Somerby which will be led by the Pipe Band of the Seaforth Highlanders.

Once again, for this the 73rd annual Commemoration, large numbers of people are expected to line the streets for this focal point of the weekend’s events.

But there is so much more to the occasion, which begins on the Friday evening with a film show for the screening of ‘A Bridge Too Far’ in the Memorial Hall.

The programme of activities on the Saturday afternoon features a Teddy Bear Parachute Jump, a 1940’s Tea Dance and a World War Two Paras Exhibition.

Then, the attention will switch to the Sunday morning for the church service and parade, so why not pop along to enjoy a great weekend for all the family.

You can read more about the Teddy Bear Parachute Jump by going to ………

Should you require any further information about the commemoration, please contact Alec Wilson on 01858 571086 or email alec@willoughby-house.co.uk

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