FREEMEN’S PLEDGE GUARANTEES MAJOR REMEMBRANCE REVIVAL
A vital donation from Durham City’s Freemen has again helped underwrite the costs of staging one of the North East’s biggest Remembrance Day parades.
The spectacle - through the streets of the city on Sunday, November 14 – will feature more than 500 military personnel, among them representatives of the vast majority of the country’s “line” infantry regiments.
A significant expansion of the city’s parades in 2017 and 2018 enjoyed wide local support, including gifts from the freemen totalling £1,500. Last year and in 2019 planned repeat events fell victims of national Covid restrictions.
This year more than 500 military personnel will be among the expected 900-strong congregation who will honour the fallen at a service in Durham Cathedral, before taking part in a colourful march past through the central area.
The parade’s volunteer organiser, retired fire-fighter Arthur Lockyear MBE, has been involved in preparations for similar events across the region for the past 30 years.
Mr Lockyear, sworn in as a city Freeman 18 months ago, said: “The organising team is once again most grateful to the Freemen for their gift, which makes it possible to provide bands to lead the various detachments on parade and make it a very special day for our veterans of all services and generations. We must never forget the debt we owe to our armed forces.”
The parade, timed shortly after 11.30 a.m., will be led by the Band and Bugles of the Durham Army Cadet Force and D Company, 8th Battalion, The Rifles.
The “heavy” drill elements will include serving members of the Household Cavalry, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and Royal Lancers. Additionally there will be staff and trainees from the Infantry Training Centre representing all five regiments of Foot Guards, the Parachute Regiment, Royal Gurkha Rifles and other line regiments. The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Royal Army Medical Corps and 607 (Squadron) Royal Auxiliary Air Force from RAF Leeming will also be represented.
The military marchers will be joined by strong detachments from Durham Constabulary and Prison Service staff from the city’s jails, as well as Fire Service standard bearers from fifteen brigades, the Fire Brigades’ Union and the London Fire Brigade Retired Members’ Association.
Eric Bulmer, chairman of the city freemen’s charitable trust, said: “Given our long historical connection with the city and interest in and value of the spirit of Remembrance we were once again delighted and honoured to give our support to help make this parade as great an occasion as possible, worthy of those we seek to honour.”