A DAY of celebration was held in Coleford on Saturday (August 12) to mark the centenary of the town’s Angus Buchanan VC Recreation Ground.
It included a march through the town by Forest sea and army cadets – who were joined by Morris dancers who danced the whole way – the official ‘opening’ of the refurbished gates to the recreation ground and memorial garden, a carnival and the launch of a biography of “Coleford’s famous son” Angus Buchanan.
The parade started at the Forest Council offices in the town centre and made its way up the hills to the recreation ground.
It was led by the “meadow mobile”, the brightly decorated electric van owned by the Recreation Ground Trust and driven by trustee Sarah Cheese.
A van from the Severn Area Rescue Association protected the rear of the parade.
There was a ceremony at the gates led by the Mayor of Coleford, Cllr Nick Penny and trustee Mr Malcolm Paterson.
Cllr Penny explained that the grounds were bequeathed to the town in 1923 and the gates were installed in 1935 to mark the Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary.
He also thanked the funding bodies that had made the refurbishment possible: Coleford Area Partnership, Gloucestershire County Council and county councillor Carole Allaway-Martin, the Gloucestershire Playing Fields Association, Coleford Town Council and landfill charity Enovert Trust.
The Mayor was also shown around the garden which has been created near the entrance by a team of volunteers led by head gardener Dave Roberts.
A biography of Angus Buchanan, who was awarded Britain’s highest military honour for his bravery in rescuing wounded soldiers, was also launched.
It has been written by the Trust’s secretary Clive Hooper who has also compiled a history of Coleford Bowls Club which was opened at the same time as the recreation ground.
There was also a carnival with lots of stalls and music from Monmouth Town Band which featured several players from Forest bands and guests conductors Sam Davis and Ian Whitburn from Coleford.
There was a demonstration of traditional woodworking skills by experts from Coleford-based Wye Coppice and a display of medieval swordsmanship by Chris Stride and Neal Pratley.
Chris founded the School of Medieval European Fencing and runs classes in Broadwell.
Other local groups and organisations at the carnival included local Girl Guides and Scouts, the Rotary Club of the Forest of Dean and Two Rivers Housing.