Soldier honoured to stand guard

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 06:35 10/04/2014
Seymour Square
Derek Flynn

Getting ready: Workers were yesterday busy setting up Seymour Square in Blenheim ahead of the visit today by Prince William and Catherine.

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Territorial army soldier Brendan Sidwell will be just five metres away from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at today's wreath laying ceremony, but he is not expecting to see the famous couple.

For an hour Sidwell will have to stand at the War Memorial stock still with his eyes firmly focused on the ground.

He is one of three service personnel representing the army, navy and air force who will stand guard during the ceremony.

During a rain-soaked dress rehearsal yesterday he practiced his ceremonial duties.

"I won't see them at all," Sidwell said. "I have to look at the ground as a sign of respect for fallen servicemen."

The Nelson soldier was upbeat in the runup to the big event.

"I feel privileged, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. I am really excited." His wife, Verity Sidwell, said her husband was the perfect choice for the ceremonial role.

"I am really proud, he is awesome. They couldn't have picked a better person.

"He was really stressed out this morning. He started preparing his uniform a couple of days ago. He is worried he might forget something."

The couple are making it a family day out with their daughters Nova and Delta hoping to snap a prime spot close to the ceremony.

"My daughter Nova thinks Kate looks like Princess Sophia on TV, she might be quite disappointed."

Marlborough Returned Services' Association vice-president Rod Shoemark said preparations were complete. "They have made last-minute adjustments but that is to be expected. During the dress rehearsals everything has run to plan."

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- The Marlborough Express

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