Over the weekend we sent two of our volunteers, Tony Green and Barry Reah, to London to represent us at the Lord Mayor’s Show. Here is their story, in their own words;
“Saturday 14th November saw a very early start. Because of railway engineering works, we set off at 7.30 for Guildford, parked the car and then caught the train toWaterloo. All went as planned until we were stuck outside Waterloo station and delayed by 20 minutes. So, a sprint on the tube with two changes to St. Paul’s Underground Station and a dash to the London Walls to join the ‘Trinity House’ float, ‘T.H. No 1 boat – Galatea’. We arrived at 10.00, just in time for the group photograph which included representatives from ‘Trinity House’, ‘The Tall Ships Youth Trust’, ‘Shipwrecked Mariners’ and the ‘Sailors Children’s Society’.
Next, we speedily changed into our costumes. Not the easiest thing to do as there were no changing facilities and no corners in which to hide. As we changed on the footpath there was some bemusement from the other participants and mention of ‘Men in tights’. Fortunately, we Tudors are above such derision and we accomplished the change with our modesty intact.
At 10.30 we set off. Immediately the crowds cheered, waved or clapped, children waved flags and blew whistles, cameras clicked and some shouted “Mary Rose, Mary Rose”, with the occasional shout of “It’s a pirate”! As one of the group said: “It’s like being a film star with everyone taking photographs and shouting”.
Ahead of us were marching bands, a group of excited school children, each dressed as Dick Whittington or his cat, large floats of various descriptions, a large flying pig, the 1989 movie Batmobile, the latest James Bond Jaguar car, steam engines, marching bands, horse drawn carriages and mounted soldiers. Horses mean manure and we walked through lots of it, made soft and squishy by the downpour of rain. Our shoes were soon covered!
At exactly 11.00 the procession stopped for a two minutes silence to remember those who died in Paris. It’s impossible to articulate the impact and the emotion of the total silence of those in the parade, the tens of thousands watching and the lack of traffic noise. The silence ended by the thunderous bells of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Then onwards through the streets of the “Square mile”, with a big cheer for us, and more shouts of “Mary Rose” from the VIPs, as we walked past the new Lord Mayor at the Mansion House, past television cameras, the grandstands outside St Paul’s Cathedral and on into Fleet Street. It’s the only opportunity we will ever have to walk along the middle of the streets of London and to see the wonderful and historic architecture of famous buildings in all their glory, without a vehicle in sight.
At the half-way point we stopped at the Embankment and put on our fetching, waterproof, ‘Mary Rose ponchos’ for the one hour break. Sandwiches and drinks were provided. We took the opportunity to talk to those on the other floats and to watch our fellow men and women join a hundred strong queue (We kid you not) to use the one set of portable toilets made available to those taking part!!
Then, discarding the ponchos, we processed back along the Embankment and Queen Victoria Street. Both of us, and the crowds, decidedly damp as the rains increased but everyone still waving, smiling and shouting.
Finally, back to the London Walls and the end of a very enjoyable, albeit very wet, five hours. It had been a privilege to have been asked to take part in such an historic an occasion and to support the 501st anniversary of Trinity House and its strong links with the Mary Rose.
As for changing out of our wet costumes and back into ‘civvies’ ? It is best not to ask. We just hope we weren’t photographed undressing at the roadside!”