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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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Town gears up for Freedom Parade

MILITARY hero Johnson Beharry will be the guest of honour at Whitehaven’s Freedom Parade today (Tuesday).

vevcqueen
coming to town: Johnson Beharry meets the Queen

By Andrew Clarke

Lance Sergeant Beharry was awarded the Victoria Cross – the highest military award for bravery in the British Armed Forces – for twice saving his comrades from ambushes in Iraq in 2004.

Gerard Richardson, of event organisers Whitehaven Festival Company, said: “Johnson Beharry is a true national hero so I’m thrilled and honoured that he has decided to come along for the parade. I am really humbled that he is coming and I hope he gets a tremendous welcome.”

LSgt Beharry will join a host of servicemen and women, veterans and cadets to march through the streets of Whitehaven on Tuesday as part of the town’s World War One Week.

Cheered on by hundreds of supporters and schoolchildren, marchers include the Band of the Royal Marines followed by the ceremonial unit of the Royal Navy carrying the freedom of the borough scroll, and the RAF. Following them will be a small number of veterans and tri-service cadets.

Mr Richardson added: “I’m delighted with the scale of the parade as we want it to make a statement of support for the serving and retired servicemen and women.

“It’s easy not to think about the work these men and women do but the truth is they volunteer to put their lives on the line for the country so each and every time we get an opportunity to say thank you we should grab it with both hands.

“The forces support for this parade has been remarkable and I hope the town turns out of the shops on mass to give them a warm welcome.”

Mr Richardson extended thanks to the event’s main sponsors Nuclear Management Partners (NMP), Copeland Council and Cumbria Police for their support.

The Red Devils parachute team will drop into Whitehaven Harbour on Tuesday. They will meet fans and sign autographs when they land in town in what promises to be a spectacular display at the culmination of the Freedom Parade.

There was to have been a flypast of a Dakota – a World War Two aircraft from the Battle of Britain team – but that has had to pull out because of engine problems. However the RV8ators display has stepped in at the last minute. 

The Army will bring a display unit to town. It will be parked on the Sugar Tongue, alongside HMS Biter, a Royal Navy patrol craft, that will also be open for the members of the public to visit.

The free World War One exhibition, held in St Nicholas’ Gardens, Whitehaven, opens on Saturday and runs until May 10. It is open daily from 10am to 5pm, apart from Sunday (11am to 3pm).

  • The parade starts at 11.30am on Tuesday at the harbourside hub.  It will parade along Duke Street, Scotch Street, Lowther Street, King Street and back to the hub for air displays and speeches.
  • The parade is expected to last an hour and the air displays are scheduled for 12.45pm to 1.30pm.
  • Designated spaces have been set aside for the schoolchildren, who will be lining the parade route through town. Schools that have not received details of their allocated space are asked to contact Richardson’s on 01946 65334.
  • Lowther Street will be closed from just before 10am and deliveries will not be able to get through until after 12.30pm.
  • Organisers ask residents of the harbourside to kindly avoid parking in front of the flats in the hub area during this time.
Have your say

I am so looking forward to this. Well done to the organisers for getting this event set up so that we can show our respect and thanks for those who sacrificed all in the past. Also, we can show our support for those who are willing to do the same now and in the future.

Posted by Mau on 2 May 2014 at 15:20

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