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Guildford to celebrate Armed Forces Day with Freedom Parade

4 minute read
Guildford to celebrate Armed Forces Day with Freedom Parade

Published at 7:01am 24th June 2017.

Armed Forces Day is being celebrated in Guildford today through a special Freedom Parade.

The Army Training Centre Pirbright has been awarded 'Freedom of the Borough', as recognition of their history of distinguished service and outstanding contribution to the local community and the nation.

Starting at 12:15, they will exercise thir freedom by marching through the town.

The parade begins from Town Bridge and will finish outside Holy Trinity Church where there will be a short service and presentation of a commemorative scroll by the Mayor, Cllr Nigel Manning.

It comes two years after Guildford hosted Armed Forces Day, when thousands flocked to the town for the celebrations including the then Prime Minister, David Cameron. 

The event held a number of military displays, including the RAF Falcons, an Army Red Devils Parachute Display and a Red Arrows flypast.

A Chinook delivering the Armed Forces flag to Guildford in 2015

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Green is Commanding Officer at ATC Pirbright and tells Eagle this year's march is an important event for recruits: "It does huge amounts for their confidence.

"It's one of the key areas we work on, but we don't have opportunities to have hopefully thousands of the local community being able to cheer them on and bring on their confidence.

Richard Green

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Green

"It's a real boost for those involved.

"They will absolutely be nervous, however knowing full well that once they start marching and hear the beat of the drum and the band of the Royal Logistics Corps playing, they will start to relax and enjoy it.

"When they see the crowds, cheering and flags they will also thoroughly enjoy it and they will look back at this with pride."

Cllr Nigel Manning, Mayor of Guildford, said: "I'm delighted to be taking part in the flag raising ceremony and supporting the military parade through Guildford.

"ATC Pirbright is the largest initial training site in the British Army and it has made an outstanding contribution to national life over many years by providing first class training for generations of newcomers."

Separately, Hampshire County Council and its partners are working together to support military personnel, veterans and families during Armed Forces Week.

They have been awarded £433,000 by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund.

This money will go towards a number of projects, which include:

  • £320,000 for a two-year project to ensure staff at local authorities in Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex and Kent are ‘Forces aware and Forces friendly’. This includes better referrals to public and charitable services, employment support for service leavers and reservists, strengthening the role of councillors and officers as Armed Forces champions and wider promotion and commitment to the Covenant across local authorities.
  • £73,000 for a two-year project to deliver Mental Health First Aid training to local authority staff, particularly housing teams, benefits teams and reception staff and community sector partners. The training aims to reduce stigma around mental health, to improve access to services and reduce inequalities in health for Armed Forces personnel and veterans.
  • £20,000 for a one-year ‘Festival of Friends’ project with the University of Winchester as the lead to help better integration of civilian and Armed Forces children in Hampshire schools. This will be achieved through themed ‘military days’ and visits from military personnel to talk about their experiences, culminating in an awards and celebration event to promote better understanding.
  • £20,000 for a one-year project with volunteers to deliver targeted sessions in Aldershot and Gosport libraries and in the towns’ pre-schools and schools which have a high proportion of Armed Forces children. The project will help military families access community based services, support integration and reduce social isolation.


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