HUNDREDS of cheering families turned out to support soldiers past and present during a parade in Basildon yesterday.

Schoolchildren, pensioners, traders and councillors were among the proud on-lookers who gathered as soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment, and veterans from the local branches of the Royal British Legion, marched through Basildon town centre.

The march, which was arranged by Basildon Council, started outside Toys R Us at 4pm and finished outside the Towngate Theatre.

Flanked by crowds cheering and waving flags, about 30 members from the Pitsea, Vange, Wickford and Basildon branches of the Royal British Legion, as well as the standard bearer for the Basildon Royal Naval Association, marched in time to the Wickford Youth Marching Band.

They were joined by about 25 soldiers from the Royal Anglians.

After the parade finished, the marchers mingled with the public, before heading into the Basildon Centre for a reception and presentations.

Frank Tomlin, chairman of Basildon Council, along with other councillors, was waiting outside the Towngate Theatre to welcome the parade.

He said: “I’m so pleased to see such a good number of people here.

“It’s wonderful to see members of the British Legion and soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment. They’ve served, and continue to serve, our country so well.

“It’s wonderful to be able to honour them in this small way.”