From Little Saplings Sensory Play, to Armed Forces Day and Ride to the Wall, there was lots to entertain our visitors of all ages throughout the year. More than 15 dedication / memorial events, including the annual dedication of names, Armistice and Remembrance Sunday services were held in our grounds. One hundred years of women’s service in the armed forces was also commemorated by The Royal British Legion, our parent charity, who held a ‘drum head’ service on the 7 July in our grounds.
The Centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele was commemorated between the 31 July and 10 November. As well as a commemorative service, visitors were also able to participate in guided walks, visit our above ground replica trench or turn their hand to origami, leaving a heartfelt message for a loved one. Our youngest explorers were also able to take a World War I backpack on their own adventure around our site. In the summer many visitors also took the opportunity to experience the Arboretum at dusk when the Luna Cinema returned to the site for two dates, our first ever summer Proms was also held in August – we are pleased to confirm that this event will run again in 2018.
Our grounds continue to grow and develop every year, ensuring there is always something for you to see. As well as colourful displays of daffodils, crocuses and snowdrops in the spring, The Royal British Legion Poppy field looked spectacular this summer.
Next year promises to be very special as the centenary of the end of the First World War is commemorated. It will also be 100 years since the formation of the Royal Air Force, we will be recognising both these important occasions with a wide range of exhibitions and events.
The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment Memorial, dedicated in September, features three life size figures. The Devonshire Regiment is represented by a soldier fighting at the Battle of Passchendale, the Dorset Regiment by a soldier serving at the Battle of Kohima and the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment by a soldier on patrol in Northern Ireland during the 1970s.