THE organiser of the first ever Dorchester Military Festival has paid tribute to those who attended.

Former soldier Ted Caine spent two years organising the event, which took place in the Borough Gardens on Saturday.

The event included a number of displays and trade stands.

The festival helped raise money for the Rifles regiment charity, Care for Casualties, which supports Riflemen who have lost limbs or have been seriously injured in service as well as the families of those killed in action.

Mr Caine said: “I’m just pleased with the response we’ve had. We’ve had a lot of reaction from the older generation – right across the board really.

“There’s something here for everyone. I’d just like to say thank you to everyone who’s supported us.”

The festival received backing from the MoD, the Duchy of Cornwall and Dorchester Town Council Despite this year marking the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, Mr Caine said this hadn’t been a factor when planning the event.

He said: “I didn’t think about it at the time. It didn’t cross my mind.”

The event was opened by Mayor of Dorchester Cllr Peter Mann.

He said: “Dorchester Town Council was very pleased to make the gardens available for the event.

“There was a wide ranging program. I was privileged to fire a cannon gun, which was an interesting experience and rather deafening. It was a very good occasion. I think the organisers are to be congratulated.”

Re-enactments were also due to take place at the event but this was cancelled at the last minute after the actors failed to show up.

Mr Caine said half a dozen groups had been expected to take part, depicting scenes from the times of the Romans, Saxons, Vikings, the First World War and Second World War, among others.

This then boiled down to two groups on Friday evening.

Mr Caine said: “There were at least two re-enactment groups coming but they have not turned up. It’s a bit of a disappointment really but never mind.”

Onlookers, however, did express some disappointment with the re-enactment groups.

One woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “They were supposed to be here at 9 o’clock but none of them have turned up, which is sad for Ted. It’s a shame because he has put so much effort into it.”