Collingwood sailors to march in Fareham

From left, Staff Sergeant Albie Annan and Corporal Luke Reynolds (170953-1)

‘Training has been tough but we are prepared’

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SAILORS from Fareham’s HMS Collingwood are to exercise their freedom of the borough by putting on a parade this spring.

More than 200 sailors from the training base will march through the town on May 7. The base was the first institution to be given the freedom of Fareham back in 1974. It gives sailors the right to march in Fareham with bayonets fixed and flags flying.

Commander Chris Lade, executive officer at HMS Collingwood, said: ‘We first marched through the town in 1975 and since then we’ve exercised that right about a dozen times. It doesn’t need to be done at any specific time or related to any sort of festival. We felt it was an appropriate time.

‘There has been an upsurge in interest in the armed forces, particularly with the number of fatalities in Afghanistan. While we don’t want to take anything away from the army, it seems there’s not as much acknowledgement of the navy’s involvement.

‘We thought this would be a little bit of an opportunity to put sailors a bit more in the public eye.’

The march will start from the civic offices, head down High Street and into West Street where there will be short speeches and medal presentations by the bandstand. Sailors will then head out through the Falklands arch, back up Quay Street, take a salute and return to a reception at the civic offices.