Freedom for our heroes

Duke of Lancaster Regiment parade
Duke of Lancaster Regiment parade
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The armed forces regiment with closest ties to Blackpool is to be offered the freedom of the borough - the highest honour the resort can give.

‘Freedom of Entry’ status is set to be granted to the Duke of Lancaster Regiment which recruits in the resort and is involved in the town’s annual Armed Forces Week.

The move was supported unanimously by councillors at a full meeting of Blackpool Council.

It will give the regiment the right to march through the streets of the town on ceremonial occasions “with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums beating, bands playing and colours flying”, the meeting was told.

Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn, who proposed the recommendation, said: “The Duke of Lancaster Regiment recruits in Blackpool and does huge amounts of work for us, not least during Armed Forces Week and around the time of Remembrance Day.

“They are very important to Blackpool Council and the people of Blackpool.”

Opposition group leader Coun Tony Williams, who seconded the proposal, added: “Blackpool Council has a long history and association with the armed forces, including the Navy and Air Force, and this is our own regiment coming from our own county.”

A special meeting of the council will now be held, on a date yet to be announced, to confer the status on the regiment.

The Duke of Lancaster Regiment is the infantry regiment for the North of England and was formed on July 1 2006 by the amalgamation of the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment, the King’s Regiment and the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment.

The Second Battalion is based at Weeton Barracks while the reserve battalion has two units based in Blackpool.

Army cadet units in the town also come under the umbrella of the Duke of Lancaster Regiment whose colonel in chief is the Queen.

It recruits around 100 people annually from Blackpool.

Freedom of Entry is an equivalent honour to Honorary Freeman, with former England football captain Jimmy Armfield the only surviving honorary Freeman of Blackpool.

Last week saw the resort hold another successful Armed Forces Week which attracted people from all over the country.