On Tuesday (19 November) Rochdale will say thank you to hundreds of soldiers for their overseas service during a parade through the town centre. The event is the first of just six to be held across the UK.
Following a grueling six month tour in Afghanistan, the First Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers is now safely home, so the event will give people a chance to welcome the soldiers back to the UK and thank them for their service in Afghanistan.
Rochdale Borough Council Leader Colin Lambert said:
"I encourage as many people as possible to come and show the soldiers and their families how much we appreciate the way they carry out their duties. The council is proud to support this homecoming. Events like this provide an opportunity for the whole community to get involved and show the sense of pride we have in the work of the Armed Forces. Soldiers don't really get a sense of just how valued their service is when they are overseas so these events are fantastic for morale.”
Councillor Alan McCarthy, Lead Member for the Armed Forces at Rochdale Borough Council said the parade reinforces the council’s commitment to the principles of the Armed Forces Community Covenant, signed in 2012:
“The council and the local military community have pledged to work together to honour, support and help the armed forces and their families … recognising their dedication and remembering that some pay the ultimate sacrifice. This parade means a great deal to everyone and we're hopeful of a large turnout."
The Mayor, Councillor Peter Rush said:
"I trust local people will once again stop for a moment and join us to show the soldiers and their families how proud we are of them."
The parade will start from Maclure Road by the Old Fire Station at 11am. The 1st Battalion will then be led down Drake Street into the town centre, towards the Esplanade. A reception will then be held at Rochdale Town Hall. Everyone is welcome to show their support by lining the route.
The Esplanade will be closed to vehicles from 6am until approximately 2pm due to the parade, and the town hall car park will also be closed. Other town centre car parks will be open however, including the nearby Bus Station and Baillie Street car parks.
Col Mike Glover, Regimental Secretary for the Fusiliers in Lancashire said:
“We are delighted that Rochdale is hosting this homecoming parade for the Fusiliers. It will give people chance to see the soldiers and welcome them home, but also enable the soldiers to express their appreciation for the kind well-wishes and messages of support that have been sent to them while fighting in difficult conditions. The parades promise to be a great occasion.”
Rochdale was one of the first councils in the country to sign the Armed Forces Community Covenant in November 2012, aimed at encouraging local communities to support services that promote and encourage activities that help integrate Armed Forces personnel back into civilian life. It also encourages authorities to work more closely to support those in service and their families, ensuring there is no disadvantage associated with serving in the Armed Forces.
Rochdale has been linked to the Fusiliers since 1881. They were awarded Freedom of the Borough in 1947.
For more details of the Homecoming Parade on Tuesday 19 November visit www.rochdale.gov.uk/armedforces
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