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PICTURES & VIDEO: Meet Private Derby XXXII, the Mercian Regiment's new mascot

The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire have presented the Mercian Regiment with its new mascot at Chatsworth.

Private Derby XXXII, as he is known, is a Swaledale ram from the Duke's own Chatsworth Estate flock.

Private Derby XXXII. Picture by Jason Chadwick.

Private Derby XXXII. Picture by Jason Chadwick.

He is the 32nd of a long line of regimental mascots which the Duke has donated to the regiment.

The regimental mascot plays an important role leading the Mercian Regiment on public duties and is a symbol of the strength, ethos and heritage of the unit.

The Duke said: "It is a long standing tradition that the mascot of the Mercian Regiment has been selected from the finest rams in the Chatsworth Swaledale flock.

"I am very pleased to present the regiment with its next Private Derby, who I am sure will serve as proudly as his predecessors have done before.

Private Derby XXXII is presented to the Mercian Regiment by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. He was accepted by Brigadier (Retd) Andrew Williams OBE, colonel of the regiment, with Ram Orderlies Private Lee Bradway and Private Steven Roach. Picture by Jason Chadwick.

Private Derby XXXII is presented to the Mercian Regiment by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. He was accepted by Brigadier (Retd) Andrew Williams OBE, colonel of the regiment, with Ram Orderlies Private Lee Bradway and Private Steven Roach. Picture by Jason Chadwick.

"Chatsworth has always had a strong connection with our county regiment so I am very happy to continue our support with this early Christmas present."

Brigadier (Retd) Andrew Williams OBE, colonel of the regiment, added: "I am delighted to accept from the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire the gift of our new regimental mascot.

"Their continued support for their county regiment is greatly appreciated.

"Private Derby XXXII will be a fine addition to the regiment and by all accounts is progressing well with his training.

Private Derby XXXII. Picture by Jason Chadwick.

Private Derby XXXII. Picture by Jason Chadwick.

"We are all looking forward to being on parade on January 13 with our new mascot, such an important part of the spirit and ethos of the Heart of England's Infantry, the Mercian Regiment."

The Duchess of Devonshire says hello to Private Derby XXXII. Picture by Jason Chadwick.

The Duchess of Devonshire says hello to Private Derby XXXII. Picture by Jason Chadwick.