WILTSHIRE will have its first representative in the national Royal British Legion standard bearer’s competition, after Amanda Bearryman fulfilled a dream to follow in her family’s footsteps.
Mother-of-two Amanda, from Swindon, won the south west heat of the national competition at the Cotswold Centre, in Neston, near Corsham, on Saturday, after coming second three times previously.
The 38-year-old ambulance service worker will now go on to the national final, where she will compete against 10 other women from across the UK for the chance to accompany the national president of the British Legion on official functions for a year.
She said: “I have been carrying the standard now for about 21 years, since I was 18.
“All my family have been members of the Royal British Legion. My mother and grandfather were standard-bearers and I always remember watching them on parade wanting to be out front myself.
“I have been practising for a good few months and was quite nervous beforehand.
“I was so desperate to win this time and I was trying so hard, I think I put a lot of pressure on myself, but I had a lot of support from everyone at the Wiltshire branch.
“It was an amazing experience to finally win, I have come second three times before and this was finally my chance.”
County president Michael Swabey praised Amanda’s efforts.
He said: “There are a number of movements and drills that the standard bearers have to go through, which last 12 to 15 minutes, during which time they are observed and watched by two judges.
“It starts with turnout, how they are presented, how they care for the standard and all the equipment, then they go through a series of manoeuvres and drills.
“It takes a lot of effort and a lot of practice to get the drill right, and lots of hours cleaning brass and polishing all the gear beforehand.
“She’s done really well to be the first winner from Wiltshire.”