COMEDIAN Al Murray has paid tribute to the respect shown by the people of Royal Wootton Bassett during the repatriations by creating a BBC radio feature.
The ‘Pub Landlord’ visited the town last month to meet The Reverend Canon Thomas Woodhouse of St Bartholomew’s Church, former mayor Steve Bucknell and former RBL repatriations officer Anne Bevis.
The five-minute piece, which also included a chat with Royal Wootton Bassett resident Ken Scott, was aired on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on New Year’s Day and can still be heard on the BBC website.
Rev Woodhouse, who met the comedian at the church on December 13, said Al was far removed from the obnoxious xenophobic pub boss he portrays in his stand-up shows.
“The man I met that day as guest editor on the Today programme was very different to the persona that he is famous for as a comedian,” said Rev Woodhouse.
“He was one of the most interesting people I have been interviewed by, he was very engaging. It was a real privilege.”
The piece included an interview with Rev Woodhouse, in which he talked about the importance of remembrance.
It also included an interview with 96-year-old Ken, who was one of the original Desert Rats, about a book of tributes he has put together.
Ken said in the piece: “I couldn’t see these tributes be blown away down the High Street or taken away as the flowers had faded and died, so I just picked them up.
“There are some very sad stories and I want the families to know that it is important to us.”
Al read out one of the tributes included in the book – it said: “I have always held close to my heart the precious moment and memory of the day I gave birth to you.
“I have loved you every moment of every day since that moment Matthew and in my heart I know you know that.
“I will carry that love with me until the end of my time. All my love, mum.”
During his visit to St Bartholomew’s Church, Al also met students from Royal Wootton Bassett Academy who were rehearsing for their Christmas carol concert.
He spent about 10 minutes talking to the students and also played the drums with them.
To listen to the feature visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20743952.