'Stupid' law stops parade

PUBLISHED: 20:20 21 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:46 11 May 2010

JOE McDONALD:

JOE McDONALD: ""It's disappointing.

FREEDOM of the town will NOT be given to the Royal Anglian Regiment – because of red tape. But it is hoped that there will be a parade to recognise the role the regiment has been playing in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq. Members of Royston Town Co

FREEDOM of the town will NOT be given to the Royal Anglian Regiment - because of red tape.

But it is hoped that there will be a parade to recognise the role the regiment has been playing in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Members of Royston Town Council were angered on Monday evening when told that that the town did not have sufficient status to give freedom of the town.

Such recognition can only be given to a city or a borough.

Cllr Peter Burt described the law as is stood as "stupid" and "madness" and said there should be a change.

He suggested calling on Royston's MP Oliver Heald to help to see a change in the law.

Councillors decided, however, to set up a working party with representatives from the Royston branch of the Royal British Legion and North Herts District Council to see whether a parade of recognition could be arranged.

Cllr Lyndsay Davidson said: "The law is stupid, but we have to be pragmatic about the situation."

She suggested that there could be a parade in the Priory Memorial Gardens.

"There must be all sorts of ways we can get around this," she said.

One other problem was that closing roads for a parade through Royston could cost thousands of pounds.

But Cllr Davidson said: "I can't believe we can't raise sufficient money."

Joe McDonald, welfare officer for the Royston Royal British Legion, said: "It's disappointing that the whole occasion is being downgraded.

"If that is the law of the land then we have to abide by the rules."

He said that he is sure that a working party could get around problems so that a ceremony of recognition for the regiment could take place.

Mr McDonald, who originally raised the question of the community displaying its support to the regiment, said he had had "a positive reaction" about the idea.

When he originally raised the idea, Mr McDonald said such a parade would "show we care and have our utmost respect for the job they are doing".

He added that such a parade would give the community the opportunity to express sympathy with the regiment which has seen nine of its service personnel killed while serving in the war zones.

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