‘Emotional’ convoy touches the hearts of the people of Leighton Buzzard and Dunstable

Billy Byrne, Wally Randall and Phil Rigby.. photo: Jane Russell
Billy Byrne, Wally Randall and Phil Rigby.. photo: Jane Russell

Excited crowds lined the streets for the Leighton Buzzard and Dunstable Truck Convoy, as over 100 trucks paraded through the town in aid of military charities.

Saturday’s convoy started at Flamstead Truck Stop at 10am, as guest of honour 102-year-old Wally Randall cut the Union Jack ribbon along with BBC One’s Billy Byrne, of DIY SOS.

The magnificent vehicles, some decorated with poppies and images of soldiers, then headed to Dunstable, before arriving in Leighton Buzzard to cheers from families.

Organiser, Graham Munt, said: “One of the highlights was the amount of people that were out to support us - we estimate that there were 5,000 residents between Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard.

“Wally thoroughly enjoyed it - a military Bentley picked him up from his house and he was escorted by the Royal British Legion motorbike riders.

“Billy Byrne and Lee Rigby’s family really enjoyed themselves too; they have both said ‘don’t forget us next year!’

“Unfortunately, Ben Parkinson MBE was taken ill and couldn’t make it, but he is hoping to do the 2019 convoy, too.”

The trucks’ final destination was Billington Showground, where punters enjoyed a fayre and took time to admire the vehicles.

In the evening there was a performance of The Last Post followed by the Reveille, given by two buglers from Buntingford, Herts, after which the trucks put their beams on and honked their horns in respect.

The night ended with the lead guitarist of ‘Heroes Journey’ band playing The Last Post again as well as God Save The Queen.

Graham added: “When we came to the Briggington cottages, one man managed to get to the window of one of the trucks and had £75 which he handed through the passenger window as a donation.

“I would like them to come forward to the LBO with their name and address so I can give the cottages a plaque to say thank you for supporting us.

“Hundreds of lorry drivers had tears running through their eyes. It gets very very emotional.

“Quite a few of them are ex military anyway, so you know when something like that happens and people come out of their houses and take the time to support you, it touches you.”

Graham would also like to thank: Z Fleet, Grant Palmer buses, Renault Trucks UK, the bands, all the drivers who participated, the police, Leighton-Linslade Town Council, and of course everyone who took the time to come and support the convoy.

The spectacle has so far raised £10,000 for The Royal British Legion, Scotty’s Little Soldiers, and the Pilgrim Bandits. However, the organisers are still counting the donations and hope to have raised between £12,000 - £15,000.