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Mayor represents Lyme Regis at national memorial dedication

THE mayor of Lyme Regis met HRH The Duke of Kent as she represented the town at the dedication of a new military memorial.

Cllr Michaela Ellis and husband Alan were guests at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) in Staffordshire when a memorial to the county regiments of Devon and Dorset was unveiled.

As patron of the Devonshire and Dorset Regimental Association and the regiment’s former Colonel in Chief, The Duke of Kent laid a wreath at the ceremony on Sunday.

The Devonshire Regiment and the Dorset Regiment were amalgamated to form the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment in 1958, and in 2007 the regiment was merged into The Rifles.

The regiment was granted the Freedom of the Town of Lyme Regis in 1945, which has been exercised several times.

The invite to the national centre of remembrance near Lichfield was in recognition of Lyme Regis Town Council’s £1,000 donation to the memorial project.

Donations from individuals and organisations with associations with The Rifles helped fund the £140,000 bronze memorial.

Cllr and Mr Ellis met and shook hands with Prince Edward, The Duke of Kent, who was guest of honour at the official dedication.

Cllr Ellis said: “It was great to be part of the commemorations and for the town of Lyme Regis to be represented at this historic event.

“To have the chance to be introduced to HRH The Duke of Kent was an honour. It was the first time I had met a member of the Royal family and it was a privilege to do that on behalf of Lyme Regis and the town council.

“I was introduced as mayor of Lyme Regis and I told him this was my second term of office. He talked about the day and commemorations and how lucky we were with the weather.”

The memorial, designed by internationally-renowned artist and sculptor Vivien Mallock, depicts solders from each of the three regiments serving at The Somme, at Kohima in the Second Wold War, and in Northern Ireland.

Cllr Ellis said: “The memorial is very in-keeping with all the other memorials at the arboretum. It’s a fitting tribute to the county regiments.”

Lieutenant Colonel Geoff Nicholls, secretary of the Devon and Dorset Regimental Association, said: “The regiment as a whole was delighted to have been able to erect such an outstanding memorial at the national centre of remembrance.

“The funds raised to enable the project to come to fruition included generous contributions from organisations and individuals from both counties, including the town council of Lyme Regis, whose mayor we were delighted to host at the dedication ceremony.”