I was extremely fortunate this week to get to film at the stunning location of Highclere Castle, Home to Downton Abbey. As a complete Downton geek this really was an exciting job for me and I was even lucky enough to interview some of the cast and the woman of the day Lady Carnarvon.
The event itself was in aid of Heroes at Highclere, celebrating the lives of those who fought in WW1. It was 100 years nearly to the day that the Great War broke out and Lady Carnarvon wanted not just to mark the occasion but do something to help raise money for many of the Military Charities who support service men and women and their families. Both my husband and I are children of military fathers and events like this one are particularly close to our hearts, so to play a small part in helping raise awareness and funds was extra special to me.
Myself and the crew from Hallmark Broadcast were here to make a film of the day, complete with history of the war and Highclere's role in it, brought to life by historian and presenter Bettany Hughes. I was the roving reporter getting interviews with the people involved and getting to have a go in vintage cars and pretty much just soak up the atmosphere!
One particular story from WW1 was also being brought to life at the castle. Back in Christmas 1914 a rather astonishing truce came about and the Germans and the British army played a football match in the 'no mans land' of the battlefields. So at the Highclere event former professional players from Britain and Germany and some of the current Bayer Leverkusen team played a friendly charity match, the first to be played in the grounds of the castle. Players included, Jimmy Carter, Andy Sinton & Matt Elliott. This was a great moment in the day and the crowd loved it.
There was so much going on throughout the day it was hard to get to cover everything but some if the highlights were the performances from X Factor Winner Alexandra Burke, The Portsmouth Military Wives Choir and The Spitfire Sisters.
The Red Devils display was fantastic in all it's red smoked glory and the air display of B-17, Spitfire, De Havilland Tiger 9 and more was wonderful to see in the skies over the castle. Canons were fired, bag pipes were played and the public just loved every minute of it.
There was even a limited edition Ale created just for the day made by locals West Berkshire Brewery aptly named Tommy Atkins ( the popular term for a soldier in the British Army at the time). 4 designs featured real local soldiers along with their stories. One of which a soldier named George Bosley who volunteered aged just 17 who was captured by a German Officer and taken prisoner for the duration.
Highlights of my day had to be sitting in a Vintage Rolls Royce and getting to interview Lesley Nicol. She plays Mrs Patmore in Downton Abbey and I just love her character so I did just for a moment lose my cool and geeked out!
The crew from Hallmark Broadcast were fantastic and covered the day in an appropriately military fashion! I don't think they missed a thing, It was great fun working with them. The great thing about my job is that you get to cover fantastic events like this one and have a laugh wile you are doing it.
I had a brilliant day and count myself lucky that this is my job. Thank you to Hallmark Broadcast and to Lord and Lady Carnarvon for opening up their home for this fantastic event.