Seven Worcester soldiers will be presented with medals next week, as part of the homecoming and freedom march through the city by members of the Armed Forces in Worcester.
Nearly 800 members of the Mercians, the Queen’s Royal Hussars and the Grenadier Guards – along with veterans from each of the three regiments and the Royal British Legion – will be joining the march on Wednesday June 27.
After the march, a special reception will be held in the Guildhall when six soldiers from the 2nd Battalion Mercians will be presented with medals in recognition of their recent tour of duty in Afghanistan, and a member of the Hussars will also receive a long service medal.
The parade, which will include marching bands, is a homecoming event for both the Mercians and The Hussars, who have recently returned from Afghanistan. It will also be a Freedom March for the Mercians and the Grenadier Guards, who were granted the Freedom of Worcester in 1993. The 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards is currently deployed in Afghanistan.
The parade will pass the Guildhall, where the salute will be taken by senior military officers, Angela Brinton, the Deputy Lieutenant of Worcestershire, and the Mayor of Worcester, Councillor Roger Berry.
Councillor Berry said: “This will be a spectacular parade that will give Worcester people the chance to show their appreciation for the work that our armed forces do and in particular welcome home our brave local soldiers.
“I hope as many people as possible will line our city’s streets to cheer on these courageous men and women – and to enjoy the pomp and ceremony!”
The parade will begin on Quay Street at 11am, cross Deansway and continue up Broad Street. It then turns into High Street and passes the Guildhall, where the salute will be taken. Music will be provided by the world famous Band of the Grenadier Guards and the Pipes and Drums of the Queen’s Royal Hussars.
The route then continues down Pump Street, along the Shambles, St Swithin’s Street and Broad Street before returning to Quay Street.
The parade will include the Mercians’ mascot Lance Corporal Derby (the regimental ram) and the regiments will be flying their colours. Veterans with Standards will line the route, providing additional colour.
Following the parade, there will be an official reception at the Guildhall for military and civic guests. During the reception, Afghanistan Operational Service medals will be presented to the following Mercians, all from Worcester:
- Private Scott Littleton
- Corporal Gareth James
- Private Steven Bradley
- Corporal Stuart Collins
- Private Karl Lewis
- Private Nephi Attree
There will also be a long service medal presented to Staff Sergeant James Smith of the Queen’s Royal Hussars, in recognition of 16 years’ impeccable service.
At the same time, the public will be able to meet the troops at a free event in the central area of Worcester Racecourse, giving local people a chance to meet servicemen and women as well as enjoying live music and displays. The gates to the racecourse will open at 11.45am.
The event will include displays, music from the Heavy Cavalry and Cambrai Band; war horses in military and historic regalia; military vehicles; singing from the Thursfield Solicitors’ Choir; and collections for Help for Heroes.
Visitors can stay on to enjoy a full afternoon of National Hunt racing. One of the races will be in aid of Help For Heroes. It is the first time ever that people will be able to gain free admission to Worcester races. Entry to the Grandstand will be charged at the normal rate.
The day is being held in the week leading up to Armed Forces Day on Saturday June 30, when a national event will take place in Plymouth.
The Worcestershire Partnership Board, which includes Worcester City Council and the other Worcestershire district councils, will be signing the Worcestershire Armed Forces Community Covenant on Friday June 29.
The covenant aims to encourage local communities to support the Forces community in their areas, nurture understanding and awareness among the public of issues affecting the Armed Forces community and ensure that they are not disadvantaged as a consequence of being a member of it.