Let us show our support
THE welfare officer of a services organisation is calling for the Royal Anglian Regiment to be given the freedom of the town. Joe McDonald, chairman of the Royston branch of the Royal British Legion, is hoping that the regiment s role in Iraq and Afghanistan ca
THE welfare officer of a services organisation is calling for the Royal Anglian Regiment to be given the freedom of the town.
Joe McDonald, chairman of the Royston branch of the Royal British Legion, is hoping that the regiment's role in Iraq and Afghanistan can be recognised in Royston.
He told The Crow that it would be a way of showing the support of the community to the regiment.
The regiment - which was once based at Bassingbourn Barracks - has recently returned from the battle front.
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Mr McDonald is hoping his idea will be adopted by Royston Town Council.
He told town councillors on Monday evening that the regiment's "service to our country" had been recognised by other towns across the east of England.
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He would like to see the freedom of the town given to the regiment or some kind of recognition to the "brave men and women" who have been in war zones.
Mr McDonald said, too, that it would give the community the opportunity to express sympathy with the regiment about the nine killed while serving in the Army.
"I hope the town council would take the same view as myself, that such recognition sends a clear message to our Armed Forces still serving in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Mr McDonald.
He continued that such recognition would show that those still involved in the conflicts were not forgotten.
"It would show we care very much and we fear for their safety, and that they have our utmost respect for the job they are doing for our Queen and country," he added.
Royston's mayor Cllr Peter Lill described Mr McDonald's suggestion as "commendable".
The town council will have to work out the mechanics of bestowing the freedom of the town on the regiment.
The occasion could, however, become a day of recognition which would include a parade by members of the regiment and, perhaps, a service at the war memorial.
Mr McDonald sees the event as one in which the community could show its support of the regiment and the troops who are now in Iraq and Afghanistan - and express sympathy over those who were been killed in action.
Cllr Mike Harrison said: "Our troops there are doing a marvellous job in dangerous circumstances. It is only right that we support them."
And Cllr Rod Kennedy said: "It will be good to recognise our Armed Forces in such a way. After all, what they are doing there is trying to protect our own country."
Town clerk Susan Thornton-Bjork will be looking into the details of running such an occasion and will report shortly to members of the council's general purposes committee.