It’s nice to hear we’re known for respecting our history

COMMENT: Bandstand event is a victim of its own success

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It’s no secret that I just love Portsmouth.

I love the history, the sea, the fact that it’s still the home of the navy and yet it’s always changing.

I moved away for about a decade and when I came back the Gunwharf Quays complex had sprung up, odd bits of one-way system had been put in place and there was a giant tower dominating the city’s skyline.

When you’re from a place, it’s quite hard to figure out how that place is perceived by people from other places.

These may be people who may have never even passed through Portsmouth on the way to foreign places…and I don’t just mean the Isle of Wight.

Last week I went up to London for a course, which attracted people from around the country.

As is customary, one of the first questions was about where we were all from and how early we’d had to get up to get the train.

When I said I was from Portsmouth, most people nodded as if they knew where it was (they probably think I’d come from Devon).

But a couple of people actually said something a bit different.

As well as saying to me that it must be brilliant living so close to the sea (which, of course, it is), they also spoke about the fantastic events that have been put on this year to commemorate both the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the First World War centenary.

They were from Derby, where the ceramic poppies that have surrounded the Tower of London were made, so they had been interested in the special commemorations.

But they took pains to tell me how fantastic it must be to live in a city that embraces its past, that honours its links to the two most defining conflicts of the 20th century, and how good the events to commemorate those who did not return had been.

And it’s true.

From the former HMS Dryad in Southwick, where D-Day was planned, and the hill forts to the sea forts, the fortifications around Gosport and Hilsea and the dockyard, we have a rich history.

It is nice to hear that we are known nationally for respecting it.