Thorney Island soldiers to be given freedom of Havant

ON PARADE The 47th Regiment Royal Artillery from Thorney Island take part in the St George's Day parade in Emsworth''last year.  (111418-10)
ON PARADE The 47th Regiment Royal Artillery from Thorney Island take part in the St George's Day parade in Emsworth''last year. (111418-10)
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SOLDIERS are to be honoured for their bravery with the freedom of Havant.

The 47th Regiment Royal Artillery, based on Thorney Island, has a long-held connection to the town.

Now the borough council wants to officially recognise that.

The regiment regularly attends Remembrance Sunday events in the town and the Emsworth St George’s Day Parade.

On June 30, the regiment will hold a medals parade in Havant Park and will have the freedom honour bestowed upon it at the same time.

The recommendation will be debated at the next council cabinet meeting but looks set to go ahead.

Councillor Jackie Branson said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted.

‘It’s nice that we can honour the soldiers from 47th Regiment especially with such a close link to Emsworth. It’s very appropriate.

‘The general public’s attendance at Remembrance Day services has been going up every year and I’m sure they will be behind this and appreciate it.’

The idea was put forward a few years ago but although the council supported it, it was not in a financial position to pay for the civic service.

The regiment has now approached the council with plans for the medals parade and will manage the event itself and liaise with the police on safety matters.

Captain James Burnett said: ‘It really is an honour and a privilege.

‘We have close links with the town of Havant and we are looking forward to strengthening those links.

‘We have 10 Battery in Afghanistan at the moment and the medal parade will be for them.’

If the council agrees to bestow the Freedom of the Borough it will also present 47th Regiment with a framed illuminated scroll.

Councillors will meet on February 8 at 5pm at the Public Service Plaza.