Union between people and armed forces

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IT was a historic day as a lasting bond was formed between the people of Havant borough and the armed forces.

A community covenant was signed between Havant Borough Council and 47 Regiment and 12 Regiment Royal Artillery, which are based at Thorney Island, near Emsworth.

The Mayor of Havant, Cllr Paul Buckley, signs the community covenant alongside Lieutenant Colonel Nick Sawyer, commanding officer of 47 Regiment from Thorney Island

The Mayor of Havant, Cllr Paul Buckley, signs the community covenant alongside Lieutenant Colonel Nick Sawyer, commanding officer of 47 Regiment from Thorney Island

The charitable and voluntary sector are also included in the covenant, which aims to encourage all members of the community to offer support for the armed forces community and make it easier for them and their families to access services they need.

Last year 47 Regiment held a march through the centre of Havant and was given freedom of the borough. The latest honour was welcomed to rapturous applause at The Plaza, which hosted the event to tie in with an information day about the huge variety of charitable services available to veterans.

Upon signing the covenant, Havant’s mayor, Cllr Paul Buckley, said: ‘I served in the Royal Navy for 30 years so this, to me, is extremely important.

‘We all should recognise how many service families live in our community, both serving and ex-service. On behalf of the council, it gives me great pleasure to sign this covenant.’

Lieutenant Colonel Nick Sawyer, commanding officer of 47 Regiment, said: ‘This is just the pinnacle of the huge amount of work that has gone on behind the scenes in the months, even the years, preceding the signing.

‘This is just formalising what is already happening.

‘We have always been made to feel hugely welcome – you have always looked after us, whether we are here or serving overseas.’

Charities set up stalls in the council chamber for the event, including Seafarers UK, Alabare Hampshire Homes for Veterans, The Forces Employment Charity, Royal British Legion, The Royal Naval Benevolent Trust and Trauma Risk Management for Veterans.