Before heading off to Parliament on Monday morning I joined tens of hundreds of local people on the streets of Stalybridge to watch the Mercian Regiment march through the town.
Members of the regiment, who have recently returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, marched past Stalybridge Civic Hall, before travelling to Dukinfield Town Hall to be formally awarded with the Freedom of the Borough of Tameside.
The Freedom of the Borough - the highest honour a Council can bestow on any individual or organisation - was presented to the regiment in a formal ceremony by Tameside’s Civic Mayor, Cllr Joe Kitchen.
Tameside has always had strong links with the men and women of the Mercian regiment, so I am extremely pleased that we are formally recognising their resolve and dedication in this way.
The event was a fantastic opportunity for local people to say thank you for the commitment members of our armed forces show on a daily basis, and the crowds certainly did not disappoint.
Almost 2,000 people came out on the streets to greet the troops as they marched. It was fantastic to see so many people taking time out of their days to come and show their appreciation.
The event on Monday followed a similar event late last month, when the Duke of Lancaster Regiment - who received the Freedom of the Borough back in 2007 - marched through Ashton town centre.
In the grand scheme of things this was a small thank you for a group of people who give a huge amount for our country, but I think it was one that will be remembered both by the troops, and the local people who took part.
Published 13th June 2013