John Gibson: Scots Guards on parade to help troops

SOMEBODY has to do it. Next year at this time they'll be in the front line in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the Scots Guards have serious work to do on the home front.

They'll be on stage, all 65 of them, at the Festival Theatre on May 2, raising money to support injured soldiers and their families, also relatives of those who've been killed.

The Scots Guards Regimental Band and Pipes and Drums have an 11-venue Scotland itinerary, titled In the Footsteps of Heroes. They include Dunfermline's Carnegie Hall on April 3.

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From their London headquarters at Wellington Barracks, the regimental secretary Major Julian Lawrie told me: "We've set ourselves a target of 1 million from this tour UK-wide. It's ambitious, yes, but in the current climate we hope the public will be sympathetic to our cause."

The musical programme has been organised by Major Douglas Robertson, a Bo'ness man, and will include, besides the obligatory Amazing Grace, an inspirational pop tune that made the charts, You Raise Me Up, covered by Michael Ball, Westlife and Daniel O'Donnell among others.

Edinburgh resident General Sir Michael Gow, a lifelong Scots Guard, anticipates a rousing evening. At 84 and not quite as mobile as he used to be, Mike says: "I'll have to be there of course. Pipes and drums and a brassy military band of this size might bounce off the walls of the old Empire. But I'll take some cotton wool. It's bound to be stirring stuff."

While we're striking a military note, the UK is newly commited to shunt more troops to a war we can't win. Everybody knows Afghanistan's a cert no-no for us. Futile in the extreme. A bodybag scenario lies ahead.

Fiona, I object

Making a case for herself, the delectable Fiona Bruce.

"If you take over a programme (Antiques Road Show) from a long-standing incumbent, not everyone's going to like it. I was pleasantly surprised more people didn't object." My objection presumably got lost in the post.

Afterwords . .

. . . She knows the feeling, does Amanda Mealing, 40, Connie Beauchamp in BBC1's Holby City: "The first thing I see as I wake is my chandelier." Presumably when she's swung from it the night before?

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