By Tim Clarke 11/05 Updated: 15/05 08:58
BRAVE troops who have just returned from the frontline of Afghanistan are preparing for a hero's welcome when they march through Worcester next month.
About 400 soldiers from the Second Battalion Mercian Regiment will join the Queen's Royal Hussars, the Grenadier Guards and veterans for the parade on Wednesday, June 27, which will include nearly 800 servicemen and women.
It will be a homecoming parade for both the Mercians and The Hussars, who have recently returned from active service in Afghanistan, as well as a Freedom March for the Mercians and the Grenadier Guards, who were granted the Freedom of Worcester in 1993.
Worcester Mayor Dr David Tibbutt urged people to line the streets and cheer on the troops.
“I am absolutely thrilled the Mercians will be able to join us in Worcester on this special day after their tour of duty in Afghanistan," he said.
“I feel this is a truly fitting occasion for Worcester to show its support and appreciation of our servicemen and women and everything they do to ensure Britain’s safety and freedom."
Brigadier Mark Banham MBE, Commander of 143 (West Midlands) Brigade, said: “It is really heartening to see the pride with which Worcester is recognising the efforts of these members of our armed forces.
“It is also worth remembering that every unit on parade has either recently returned from or is preparing to deploy on operations and that they all play their part in defending the security of this nation.”
The parade will start at 11am on Quay Street, moving up towards Broad Street before turning into the High Street as soldiers march to the sound of the world famous Band of the Grenadier Guards and the Pipes and Drums of the Queen’s Royal Hussars.
It will continue down Pump Street, along the Shambles, St Swithin’s Street and Broad Street before returning to Quay Street.
After an official reception at the Guildhall people will be able to chat to the troops during a special event at Worcester Racecourse from 11.45am, where there will also be live music, including the 45-strong Heavy Cavalry and Cambrai Band, and military displays.
The free event will also feature an afternoon of National Hunt racing, including a race in aid of the soldiers' charity Help For Heroes. The parade and other events have been organised as part of the lead up to Armed Forces Day on June 30.
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