Thursday, 09 September 2010| | | | |
Today I was honoured to present the Freedom of the Borough to the Rifles.
Marjorie and I were at the Town Hall just after 10:00 am to meet the
guests and allow Kevin, the Mayor's Attendant, to carry on with the
organising of the event.
Both Marjorie and myself must give a great big "THANK YOU" to Kevin for organising such a wonderful event that made it such a memorable day for everyone.
To both of us it was to be a family re-union as being so busy we don't get the chance to meet all our relatives as often as possible.
Being early did give us time to meet the volunteers manning the Army and Association stalls in the town centre. It also gave me time for a bacon sandwich and a cup of coffee.
The guests and civic guests started to arrive, so Marjorie and I were kept busy. I did, however, have time for an interview with the Northern Echo reporter before the parade and said what an honour it was for Stockton to give the freedom of the borough to the Rifles.
It was soon time to robe and process to the Dias ready for the parade and presentations. It was good to see so many residents from Stockton and the surrounding areas lining the route to welcome all the soldiers from the Rifles. We knew the parade was coming by the cheers and the sound of the bugles of the band, and what a sight greeted us when the parade came into view with such a smart display by everyone. I joined the Lord Lieutenant of Durham and the Deputy Colonel Commandant of the Rifles to inspect the front row of the parade and the band. It was interesting to learn from talking to the soldiers where they came from - a couple were from South Africa while another was from St Vincent in the Carribean. After the inspection it was time to present the Scroll of Freedom to the Rifles and receive a mounted Bugle from the Rifles. I also presented an inscribed decanter to the Rifles for use in the mess.
Speeches were made from myself and the Deputy Colonel Commandant before it was time for the Stockton residents to show their support by giving three cheers. The Rifles then paraded down the High Street and then returned passing the saluting Dias to the top of the high street.
I had time for an interview with BBC Tees before Marjorie and I had some photographs with our family.
We all retired to the BUFF's Club where I hosted a reception for the troops and presented three Stockton Plaques for the Regiment's messes as a memento of the Freedom Parade. We then visited the Parish Gardens for a very pleasant and amusing musical concert. Here again I presented the band with a plaque and I thanked them for such a good display both on the parade and here in the Parish Gardens. In return I received a plaque from the band, which will be mounted in the Town Hall for everyone to see.
Arriving back home it was time to relax after such a busy and delightful day, and it is thanks to all Stockton Council staff who helped in anyway with such a wonderful event.
Thursday 9th September 2010
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