THE pomp and ceremony of this year’s Trooping the Colour, watched by thousands around the world, had a special meaning for one Forfar family.
For among the immaculate soldiers on Royal Guard duty on Saturday, June 11 was Guardsman Blair Patullo of the Scots Guards, son of David and Gail Patullo of Westfield.
The memorable event in Horse Guards Parade, which officially marked the Queen’s birthday, culminated months of training for the former pupil of Wellbrae Primary School and Forfar Academy.
Blair (21) completed months of drill rehearsals, including full days of training at the drill square at Purbright training camp.
Prior to the London event, which was attended by his proud parents, Blair took part in two full rehearsals which ensured everything went like clock-work on the day for the 294 Scots Guards on parade.
This included a Colonel’s Review a fortnight before and then the Major General’s Review the week prior to the event.
Blair signed up in November 2009 after he completed an NC sports coaching and development course at Angus College.
He began his six months training at Catterick in March last year, passing out as the best recruit in a ceremony attended by his parents, his brother Grant and his aunt, Arlene Tyrie.
As well as having his name added to the roll of honour of best recruits, he was presented with a trophy to mark his achievements.
After that he was stationed at Wellington Barracks, Westminster, which is about 300 yards from Buckingham Palace, and over the last eight months has been on Royal Guard duty at Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, Windsor Castle and the Tower of London.
He was also on Royal Guard duty in The Mall during the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton on April 29, “presenting arms” as members of the Royal family passed by.
Following a week’s holiday back home in Forfar last week, Blair returned to Catterick on Monday to join a company of the 1st Battalion the Scots Guards. He will then take part in an operational tour of Afghanistan next year.
Although Blair has spent the last few months on parade and practising drills for hours on end, he is no newcomer to drill duty- thanks to the 2nd Forfar Boys Brigade Company.
Blair, who gained his President’s Badge and his Queen’s Badge, and who formed part of the colour party at the company’s re-dedication services in the East and Old Parish Church, said: “Drill was part of what we did in the Boys Brigade. I always wanted to join the Army but I never knew what regiment I wanted to be in. It is just coincidence that I ended up joining the Guards and did the sort of stuff we did in the Boys Brigade with Mrs Duthie and Mark Wilkie.”
The highlight of his Army career to date, along with Trooping the Colour, was his part in the UEFA Champions League final dinner at The Roundhouse Hotel in London.
Blair continued: “I carried in the trophy and marched it off the stage. The UEFA president was there so that was pretty good, being a football fan.
“There were four of us on duty. I carried the trophy onto the middle of the stage and then, after the ceremony, the president passed it back to me and we marched off as a four.”
Also attending the ceremony was another man with strong Forfar connections - David Taylor - the vice-president of UEFA, who attended the dinner with his wife and who introduced themselves to Blair and his colleagues.
Blair added: “It is an honour to be on Royal Guard duty. I used to visit London and see the Guards but it’s something I never thought I would be doing.”