Collingwood sailors to march through Fareham town centre

MARCHING Collingwood sailors
MARCHING Collingwood sailors
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SAILORS from HMS Collingwood are set to march through Fareham this Saturday.

More than 200 sailors will exercise their Freedom of the Borough by parading through the town.

HMS Collingwood was the first institution to be awarded freedom of Fareham in 1974 and sailors will march with colours flying, drums beating and bayonets fixed.

The march, which will be led by The Band of HM Royal Marines, Portsmouth, will start from the Civic Offices in Fareham at 10.45am.

It will head down the High Street into West Street where there will be short speeches and medal presentations by the bandstand.

Sailors will then head out through the Falklands Arch, and go back up Quay Street to take a salute before marching back to the Civic Offices.

Collingwood’s Commander Chris Lade said: ‘It means quite a lot to us because we’re very much part of the community in Fareham. We have close links with the civic offices and local charities and a lot of sailors who work at Collingwood live in the area so it’s a great privilege.

‘We will spend a week leading up to the freedom march preparing for it.

‘There is a lot of pride in showing ourselves out in the community. It’s good to be in the public eye, especially at a time when the navy is doing so much around the world. Not many people realise we have thousands of sailors out in Afghanistan at the moment, for example.’

It will be the first time Collingwood’s sailors have marched as freemen since 2007 when they took part in Fareham’s commemorations for the 25th anniversary of the Falklands conflict, which was attended by Baroness Margaret Thatcher.

Collingwood can request to carry out a freedom march once every four years.

This Saturday will be the 12th time sailors from the base have exercised this right.