Regiment to receive the Freedom of Blackpool
Blackpool is set to grant its highest honour to soldiers most closely linked to the resort.
The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment will receive the Freedom of the Borough at a ceremony next week.
Councillors are to hold a special meeting at the town hall at 2pm on Wednesday to approve the honour, after which the regiment will parade through the town and along the Promenade.
Coun Chris Ryan, Armed Forces Champion at the council, said: “We owe the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, and the armed forces as a whole, an enormous deal of gratitude.
“They risk life and limb to keep us safe and nothing we do can ever make up for the sacrifice that they make to protect people in Blackpool.
“We regularly work with the regiment on events like Armed Forces Week and Remembrance Day, while they continue to help in our community and with our schools.
“Freedom of the Borough is the highest honour we can bestow on the regiment, and every single member deserves that distinction for their continued work to keep families safe.”
Brigadier Peter Rafferty, Colonel of the Regiment, said: “The regiment has long and close associations with Blackpool, which we cherish and look forward to continuing. It is therefore a great honour and privilege for us to exercise our freedom by marching through the borough.
“It provides a wonderful opportunity to say thank you to the people of Blackpool, for the enduring support they show to our soldiers, no matter where they are serving, be it here at home or overseas.
“We’re very much looking forward to what will be a memorable day.”
The ‘Freedom of Entry’ grants The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment the right to march through the streets of Blackpool on ceremonial occasions with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums beating, bands playing and colours flying.
Freedom of Entry is bestowed upon units that have shown excellent service to local people, as well as having an intrinsic link with the town.
The honour is on a par with the Honorary Freeman title, albeit for units rather than individuals.
The last unit to be granted Freedom of Entry in Blackpool was the 12th Regiment Royal Artillery in 2005, while Jimmy Armfield CBE was named as an Honorary Freeman of the town in 2003.