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Special 25th anniversary concert to celebrate Frome’s link with war submarine

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Frome Royal Naval Association is hosting a spectacular concert next month to celebrate 25 years of performances by the Royal Marines Band at the Memorial Theatre. 

The commemorative event was first held in 1995 as a one-off concert to remind the community of the story of how Frome adopted  and fundraised for the HMS Thunderbolt – a submarine that was used during World War Two, which was sunk in 1943 with all lives on board lost.

25 years on, the ‘one-off’ event has become a much-anticipated charity event in Frome’s packed social calender and in the last 10 years has raised approximately £16,000 for various charities and organisations.

For the 25th anniversary concert, starring the band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Lympstone, organisers are promising an evening of ‘music, pomp and humour’.

Explaining the history of the event, Mike King from the Frome Royal Naval Association said, “During the week of the 14th – 21st February 1942 an advertisement  appeared in the Somerset Standard announcing the adoption by Frome of the submarine HMS Thunderbolt and the target of raising £175,000 – £7million by today’s standards – by the people of Frome as part of the war effort.

“Later it was announced that Vice Admiral Sir Robert Hornell KBE DSO would be attending a ceremony on the 12th March 1943 in the Grand Cinema Frome, now the Memorial Theatre. He was to receive from the chairman of the Frome war savings committee the plaque of HMS Thunderbolt on behalf of the commanding officer of the submarine. 

“Unfortunately HMS Thunderbolt never received the gift as she was lost on the 14th March 1943 off Sicily, the plaque however was not lost and now forms part of the Memorial wall in the foyer of the theatre.

“In 1994 the chairman, shipmate Ken Ring, decided that a commemorative event should take place to remind the people of Frome of the sacrifice made by the crew and the fundraising efforts of the people of Frome. 

“Ken came up with the idea of a concert by the Royal Marines Band, and the rest is history. The first concert was held in March 1995 as a one off; this year’s concert is the 25th consecutive concert. During that period the money raised has helped charities including Combat Stress, the Not Forgotten Association, Blind Veterans and organisations such as the RNLI.”

The 25th anniversary concert will be held at Frome’s Memorial Theatre on Saturday 14th March at 7.30pm. Tickets costing £18 are on sale now from the box office – 01373 462795 or via www. frome memorialtheatre .org.uk  

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