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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

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700 pupils to welcome our homecoming troops

OVER 700 school children will be attending the special Homecoming Parade for troops.

Above: Two views of the Freedom of the Town parade for the King’s Own Border Regiment in 1964

And all the community is being encouraged to follow suit and line Whitehaven town centre’s streets to mark the occasion.

The town will host the event on May 20, with businesses and shops already being encouraged to take part in a window dressing competition which will be judged in the morning.

The homecoming – being co-ordinated by Copeland Council with help from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, the police and Gerard Richardson – will involve up to 180 soldiers from the regiment’s 1st Battalion parading through the town.

The event will start with a service for the troops and dignitaries in Whitehaven Civic Hall at 11am.

Shortly after the start of this service there will be a minute’s silence at which time a bugler will sound The Last Post outside the Civic Hall and the regimental standards and the Royal British Legion standard will be lowered.

The parade around the town centre is expected to begin at around 11.45am and take about 45 minutes.

It will come to a close with a salute on Lowther Street taken by the forthcoming Copeland mayor Geoff Garrity, with the colonel of the regiment, Brigadeer Mike Griffiths, standing to one side. The parade will then make its way back to the Civic Hall.

Mr Richardson said the response from schools had been brilliant.

“It’s the fastest response we have ever had. I think the schools have recognised that it is a once-in-a-lifetime event and they want to be a part of that,” he said.

Organisers want the whole community to get involved and line the streets to say thanks to the troops.

Judging for the ‘best-dressed window competition’ organised by Whitehaven Festival Company will take place at 10am. It can be a patriotic/forces theme but doesn’t have to be.

The winner will be given tickets for their staff for a concert of their choice during Whitehaven Festival – either McFly, Slade/Sweet/From The Jam or the Bay City Rollers/Alvin Stardust.


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