Freedom of Huntingdonshire to be given to RAF Wyton and World War Two Pathfinder Veterans this weekend

Freedom of Huntingdon Parade

Freedom of Huntingdon Parade - Credit: Archant

PEOPLE are being encouraged to line the streets when the Freedom of Huntingdonshire is conferred on RAF Wyton and World War Two Pathfinder Veterans this tomorrow (August 17).

The honour was agreed by Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) earlier this year and recognises the efforts of those stationed at the military base during the conflict and its close ties with the community.

It will be marked with a Freedom Parade through Huntingdon on Saturday.

About 60 uniformed personnel representing the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, and about 20 veterans, accompanied by the Wyton Area Voluntary Band, will march from Market Hill, along the High Street, to HDC’s Pathfinder House.

A salute will be taken in Samian Court, outside HDC’s headquarters, by Brigadier Nick Davies, commander of RAF Wyton’s Joint Forces Intelligence Group.

The parade will follow a ceremony in Market Hill, when two scrolls, declaring the freedom of the district, one for the veterans and another for the serving forces, will be presented.

From 11.30am, there will be an exhibition on the past, present and future of RAF Wyton in the town hall. Entry will be free and exhibits will include artefacts from the Pathfinder Collection. There will also be a display on flying training and military skills, as well as an insight into defence intelligence.

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In 1955, RAF Wyton was granted the freedom of the then borough of Huntingdon.

HDC leader Councillor Jason Ablewhite said the freedom of the district was once again being conferred for a number of reasons:

l To recognise the base’s contribution to the local community and economy over the last 71 years

l To reaffirm support for the armed forces and the contribution they make to our freedom

l To affirm the connection with the base as the site of the original Pathfinders headquarters

l To support the base as the new headquarters for the Joint Forces Intelligence Group, which has given Wyton a significant army presence for the first time.

Speaking on behalf of the Joint Forces Command Station, RAF Wyton and the World War Two Pathfinder veterans, Brigadier Davies said: “We are both honoured and delighted to receive the Freedom of the District of Huntingdonshire, signifying as it does the long and close relationship between the station and our local community.

“This relationship will only deepen as the role of Joint Forces at Wyton continues to develop in the future.”

A spokesman for RAF Wyton added: “Having the Freedom of Huntingdonshire conferred on the station is a great honour and we hope that as many people as possible will come out and support their troops on what will be a very proud and historic day for us.”

INFORMATION: The parade from Market Hill is due to start at 11am on Saturday, August 17. The exhibition in the Town Hall will be open from 11am to 3pm.