Two former soldiers who hired a TANK to drive to Remembrance Day service smash into war memorial after ‘forgetting to put the handbrake on’
- Two ex-soldiers hired a tank to attend Remembrance Day in Bollington, Cheshire
- Chaos struck as they forgot to put handbrake on and it smashed memorial gates
- Town councillor said he was ‘a bit embarrassed to say the least’ about debacle
- Royal British Legion’s membership team is now investigating the accident
Two former soldiers were left red-faced after hiring a tank to drive to a Remembrance Day service – only to then smash into the memorial in front of a shocked assembly after they ‘forgot to put the handbrake on’.
Patriotic villagers in Bollington, Cheshire, had gathered solemnly around their memorial garden on Thursday, November 11, to join together in quiet remembrance.
Town councillor Mark Fearn and former mayor Andy Langdon tried to add a dramatic flair to the 11am event when they hired an ex-British Army Scimitar tank for their arrival.
But the 7.8 tonne machine rolled into the memorial gates, smashing them to pieces, after one of the duo ‘forgot to put the handbrake on’.
Councillor Fearn admitted he caused the accident, which he said left him feeling a ‘bit embarrassed to say the least’.
Town councillor Mark Fearn and ex-mayor Andy Langdon surprised residents of Bollington, Cheshire, by getting to the 11am remembrance event in a former British Army tank.
Repairs being made to the memorial in Bollington, Cheshire, after a tank driven by a town councillor and an ex-mayor rolled in to it
The Royal British Legion has been angered by the gaffe and said its membership team were investigating the stunt, which it deemed ‘entirely inappropriate’.
One villager said: ‘You couldn’t have written it, it was like something out of Dad’s Army’
‘Residents had been told there was a surprise and we had been guessing all week what it would be.
‘Suddenly I was told it had demolished the gates to the memorial garden.’
Councillor Fearn and Mr Langdon hired the tank – which costs from £950 per day – and appeared out the turret to drive to the minute silence.
According to a villager, the vehicle was parked close to the entrance to the memorial gardens before it rolled into the stone and metal gates.
One villager said: ‘They were waving and laughing as they drove through the village.
‘When they parked, I think they left the handbrake off and it went crashing into the gatepost of the memorial garden.
‘Or they could have put it in reverse, I’m not sure what happened.’
On a post made in the community Facebook group, Councillor Fearn confessed ‘it was me’ when someone asked if Andy Langdon had caused the disaster.
He added: ‘Oops. A bit embarrassed to say the least… I will be making a personal donation to RBL.
‘Repair work is now almost completed and actually looks better than before it was knocked down.’
Pictures show how the gate was dragged from its frame and it is thought several concrete blocks were knocked from the stone gatepost.
Despite the incident, some applauded the gesture.
Despite criticism from the Royal British Legion, kind villagers helped clear the debris after the accident and some even applauded the duo’s gesture
One commented on Facebook saying: ‘Accidents happen, and with the goodwill of a generous community, it is being rectified.
‘Great idea having an ex operational vehicle in attendance in the first place.’
But others were frustrated at the scene – with one villager saying: ‘I think it was in poor taste.
‘Apparently they didn’t get permission in the first place.
‘They should have known better but I think it was done to make themselves look good.’
A spokesperson for the RBL said: ‘We are aware of an incident in Bollington on Armistice Day and our Membership team are currently investigating.
‘We were not aware beforehand that this vehicle would be used on Thursday, and it is entirely inappropriate.’
Andy Langdon declined to comment. Mark Fearn could not be reached for comment.