The freedom of St Ives has been granted to the RAF Wyton-based 42 Engineer Regiment (Geographic) after a huge parade and march past.

The Freedom of St Ives parade. Picture: ARCHANTThe Freedom of St Ives parade. Picture: ARCHANT

Thousands of spectators came to watch the troops march on a circuit of the town centre before the freedom scroll was presented to them on Armed Forces Day (Saturday).

There was also a presentation of ceremonial swords - with the one handed over by the engineers being kept at the town hall.

Town clerk Alison Benfield said: “It went fantastically well. It was just a brilliant day all the way around.

“The march went really well and there were no problems.”

The Freedom of St Ives parade. Picture: ARCHANTThe Freedom of St Ives parade. Picture: ARCHANT

Mrs Benfield said thousands of people came in to the town to watch the ceremony and she thanked everyone who had taken part as well as those who faced disruption while the event was taking place.

Mayor, Councillor Tim Drye said: “It is our privilege to award the freedom of the town to such an historic regiment.”

Freedom of the town was awarded by the town council and enables the regiment, part of the Royal Engineers, to parade through the town centre.

The ceremony helped mark longstanding links between the town and the armed forces based at nearby RAF Wyton.

The Freedom of St Ives parade. Picture: ARCHANTThe Freedom of St Ives parade. Picture: ARCHANT

Celebrations to mark Armed Forces Day took place during the day, with entertainment by the Candy Girls and the Rocking Ukuleles, together with service-related charities raising awareness of the support they provide to troops both past and present.

In the afternoon there was a chance to visit the 42 Engineer base at Wyton where they put on a family day with displays and demonstrations of their work.

42 Engineer Regiment moved to RAF Wyton in 2014 when it became part of the Joint Forces Intelligence Group.

Its roots go back to just after the Second World War to provide geographic services to the forces, a role which now includes geospatial intelligence.

RAF Wyton, on the edge of St Ives, has links to the RAF going back to the First World War. In the Second World War it was a bomber station and part of the Pathfinder Force.

After the war it had a reconnaissance role and was the home of the Canberra aircraft for many years. It is now a Joint Forces Command station which includes the Joint Forces Intelligence Group and the National Centre for Geospatial Intelligence.