Royal Anglian Regiment offered freedom of Huntingdon

THE heroes of the Royal Anglian Regiment have been offered the freedom of Huntingdon. The soldiers, many of whom are currently serving in Afghanistan, are expected to receive the honour in a ceremony in the town this summer and march through Huntingdon

THE heroes of the Royal Anglian Regiment have been offered the freedom of Huntingdon.

The soldiers, many of whom are currently serving in Afghanistan, are expected to receive the honour in a ceremony in the town this summer and march through Huntingdon next year.

The honour, voted for unanimously by Huntingdon Town Council on Thursday (January 21), was the idea of the Mayor of Huntingdon, Councillor Saeed Akthar.

He told The Hunts Post the freedom of the town was offered to the regiment to recognise the work the armed forces carried out to protect the lives and freedoms of everyone in the country.


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"With all the conflicts abroad, especially in Afghanistan, and the regular casualties and fatalities, the armed forces need to be recognised and appreciated for all the good work they do," he said. "They put their lives on the line so that we can live in a free society here."

Lieutenant Colonel Tony Slater from the Royal Anglians is due to meet Huntingdon Town Council next month to discuss arrangements.

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He told The Hunts Post: "This is an enormous honour. It is something that we hold a great deal of pride in as a large majority of our men are from this county.

"This is our home county and it is wonderful to be recognised in this way, especially when you have come back from a very difficult tour of duty.

"To get this kind of support means an awful lot. We will only march here about once every five years because it will be very special."

The Royal Anglians have suffered the loss of eight soldiers in Afghanistan - the first soldier to die in Afghanistan in 2010 was 19-year-old Private Robert Hayes, a member of the Essex Company 1st Battalion who will be buried in Burwell on Friday (January 29).

The regiment is due to return from Afghanistan, where they are fighting the Taliban on the frontlines, in late April.

They will then be exercising their freedom in the 34 towns and cities across the region, including Cambridge, Peterborough, Wisbech and Ely, and will be invited to take part in Remembrance Day and other civic services in Huntingdon.

Colonel Derek Bristow, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Cambridgeshire, represented the regiment at the town council on Thursday.

Col Bristow, who is also chairman of the Reserve Forces and Cadets Forum for Cambridgeshire, said the regiment was over the moon about the honour and added: "Many of the army cadet units in the county, including the one here in Huntingdon, wear the cap badge of the Royal Anglian Regiment and share its traditions while many veterans here in Huntingdonshire have served in the regiment or its former regiments."

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