Welcome to Swanage Army Link.

The Swanage Army Link is a dynamic association that has evolved over nearly 30 years between the Swanage Railway, the British Army, the People of Swanage and the Royal British Legion.

Regular ongoing visits by the Royal Corps of Signals soldiers are core to this Link, as is Team Herston, formed in 2007, bringing together local residents and ex soldiers who work regularly on our core project – the upkeep of Herston Halt.

More recently we have been proud to welcome Heroes Haven into the fold.

Want to know more? See About the Army Link .

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Heroes Haven Donations

If you would like to make a donation to the Heroes Haven, please visit their site http://www.heroes-haven.org.uk (opens in a new window) and click on the 'Donate' link in the top right of the page.

Please enter SWCP as the reference.

Olympic torch

 Friday 13th What a fantastic day!

Friday the 13th may be unlucky for some, but few in Swanage would have noticed. The town was braced for the arrival of the Torch which had been in Weymouth overnight and came our way via Preston, Winfrith Newburgh and Corfe Castle. With flags flying of every lamppost in Herston, the Torch made haste from Herston Middle School for its 2 mile stint, down the A351 (Victoria Avenue), to the High Street and back the School.

Look through our site for photos and various links including to BBC Radio Solent, the BBC Torch-Cam and Youtube videos

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUcbJhCwMxM

A Swanage Olympic Torchbearer

 

Nominated by Faith Perkins

I have been asked to tell you why I nominated Frank Roberts to be an Olympic Torch Bearer. This is what I put on the Lloyds/TSB nomination form, which states most of the reasons why I did:-

"Frank, an ex-army sergeant major, has a full time job but still spends time raising money for charity.
He walked the South West Coast Path, 633 miles, in 2011, to raise money for Heroes Haven, Swanage, a purpose built log cabin for amputee soldiers (and their families) to use during their long rehab.
He also walked for The Baton Trust, (a charity helping the Armed Forces) - carrying the Baton, part of a stretcher pole from Afghan war. He has dedicated more than 28 years to voluntary work on the Swanage Railway, working with soldiers from a nearby base to help them have an interest in the Railway and raising money for the local community too. They have "adopted" one of the stations on the line, have built/renovated it and maintain it. Frank has held a variety of management positions within the Railway Trust. He has previously cycled from London to Paris, again for charity. We all wonder - what next?!"

Besides all that, I have known Frank for quite a long time now, and one thing that really stands out is his unfailing willingness to help anybody who needs his help, whether it is practical help or listening/supporting. This is given without hesitation, even though it often leaves him with little time for himself. Frank may have left the Army but is still involved with many aspects of it's life, holds down a busy full-time job (following obtaining a university degree) as well as continuing to do so much with the Swanage Railway.

I value his friendship, and am honoured to know him.

Faith Perkins

 

Frank Reflects.

I had not really had time to think about the Torch much. It has been a manic time at South West Trains and if it were not for the help of Kamal and out new Network Rail Track & Trains Graduate Graham Spiby, I would have been even busier. I remember exactly where I was stood when Bert Appleton called me on the Wednesday and said that London had grasped the Olympics; I was actually stood metres away from where the new Heroes Haven is located at Herston. Since then the Olympics has been part of my personal life plan.

I arrived back in Swanage late; three days late, the start of yet another period of annual leave delayed by work. I found out the leg that I would run three days before “Torchday”, then found my sexy tracksuit with a set of welcoming instructions next door. With the hanging of 28 flags Union flags off lampposts in Swanage, a trip to the dentist and a few pints in the Anchor, the day itself arrived.

We were all to report to the Church of England School at Corfe Castle, and the 25 or so runners were able to “meet and greet” and also listen to many of the kids singing a wonderfully moving song. Before too long we were on a yellow bus and taken to Norden, fully round the roundabout and we pulled in at the side of the Castle café and waited for the arrival of the Torch Convoy. Whilst sitting there for 30 minutes or so, the brilliant Olympic hosts encouraged us to relay to everyone present exactly why we were chosen. This was a very moving time, as everyone relayed stories of courage and true determination.

Very soon we were being moved towards Corfe Castle and the first runner was dropped off, as a fantastic cheer went out. So started the set routine for every Torchbearer; dropping them of into the massive crowds and well lined roads. There were four for Corfe, and then we were driven at faster speed to Swanage Middle School. The atmosphere at every point of the day was electric, with cheering crowds, happy police teams and smiling faces.

As we arrived in Swanage there was the chance that the sun would shine and the view from out bus was one of streets overflowing with people. The Torchbearers were dropped off for their 360m legs and as we went along Victoria Avenue there were masses of international students from Harrow House who had their national flags painted on each face cheek. Jeff Holt got off the bus in his wheelchair and the sight of the sea caused another huge cheer from the bus.

I had left instructions for Alan Watts and also Sister Alison that Team Herston should be based at the White Swan. It was difficult to know where the best place would be, but next to a pub would not be far out. During the Torchbearers brief it was mentioned that there could be a few minutes at the start of each leg, and so as I got my torch, was cheered off the bus and started my messin’ around bit; a photo here, a photo there and a quick sprint down towards the pub. No pint of Ringwood for me though, as TheTorchSecurityTeam from the Met were after me. What had I done? Nothing too serious, just caught on camera snogging too many chicks and general tomfoolery! Erika in Windsor had sent a text saying watch out for David in grey and covered in logos and up he popped on his bike, made his introduction and he had the Mayor of Swanage moved to the front of the Town Hall for a handshake. He then said “I’ll stay here with you Frank as you could be mobbed if you are not careful!

 

 

Here comes the Torch, and the chick on the bus introduced me on the public address speakers to all the crowds as Francis – who? Yes Francis “Frank” Roberts! The crowds laughed and I shouted out a bit more. Time to calm down a little, and take the Olympic flame as the Torches kissed and number 60 started his leg. The crowds were deep and lined the streets on both sides, with many friendly faces from far and near. As I passed the Swan, a special pause for the members of Team Herston all in orange and lots of other fine people all cheering the flame on its way.

 

 

As we passed the Town Hall the Mayor Councillor Bill Trite was indeed there, together with many other officials and the Town Crier. A lovely Olde English moment of speech as we passed. Was the hill really that steep of was the adrenalin really making me sweat. There was no 61, Emma from Poole waiting for the kiss. A quick hug for the cameras, then the proper kiss.

 

 

As I passed the flame on towards London, I was extinguished and boarded a second Battlebus put my Torch in the frame and sank into the seat. What an experience!

 

 

As we continued on the bus to the Middle School, there were more and more crowds, there the children from the schools in Herston. Then there was Ben Ridd walking with the Torch up the hill to the School and it that were not a testament of courage, I’m not sure what was. You could not have got another vehicle in there if you tried, and all of the buses and police bikes arrived for the lunchtime break. Our final stint was back to the School in Corfe Castle where the gas canisters were removed and all of the fine Torchbearers dispersed.

The end of a fantastic day and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

 

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