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Echo urges people to back our boys by turning out in force in Basildon
1:00pm Wednesday 7th November 2012 in Local News
THE Echo urges you to line the streets of Basildon and honour our heroes.
The 1st Batallion the Royal Anglian Regiment will march through the town to celebrate their homecoming tomorrow (Thursday, November 8).
The troops returned from Afghanistan just over a month ago and for some it will be their first parade so everyone in the borough is being encouraged to turn out and show their support.
More than 300 soldiers from the regiment, nicknamed The Vikings, will march from Toys’R’Us to Town Square.
It will be a historic day for Basildon, which was granted borough status in 2010, as the march will also celebrate the regiment becoming the first-ever recipients of the Freedom of the Borough honour.
At the end of the march HRH the Duke of Gloucester and commander in chief of the regiment will inspect the troops.
It is hoped patriotic, flag-waving residents of all ages will turn out in their hundreds, along with members of Basildon Council, the Royal British Legion, businesses and shoppers as well as schoolchildren and staff.
Tony Ball, leader of Basildon Council, said some schools are arranging to take their pupils along on the day and believes that is “absolutely right”. “I think it’s one of the proudest moments of my life as a councillor and for the residents of Basildon,” he said.
“I think it’s something all residents would like to have, the opportunity to welcome them home and pay tribute to the work they have done on our behalf. “It’s also an honour the Duke of Gloucester will be here to inspect the troops.”
Mo Larkin, mayor of Basildon, said getting the troops to march through the town was something she fought for during the borough status bid when she was chairman of the authority.
She added: “It’s so important because they put their lives on the line for us and we need to show them support. “There’s nothing greater than giving your life for something. We just want to show them that we all care.”
Mrs Larkin will also be presented with the British Empire Medal on the day by the Duke to recognise more than 20 years of her hard work and dedication to charity work.
The march will start at 12.30pm and arrive in St Martin’s Square at 12.40pm.