Swords drawn, bayonets fixed, bands playing and colours flying as we grant Freedom
Our Chairman, Councillor Godfrey (Goff) Beck, says he is "extremely honoured" to have taken part in Sunday's (25 September 2016) historic event for the area to award 17 Port & Maritime Regiment RLC freedom of the district.
Cllr Beck bestowed freedom of the district upon the Regiment in a ceremony at Appletree Court in Lyndhurst, our main offices. An ornate scroll with the formal wording was handed to the regiment's commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Kirsten Dagless RLC.
The Chairman then joined the Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire , Brigadier David Harrison JP DL, and Major General Malcolm Wood CBE, in an inspection of the regiment, before the 200+ troops, accompanied by a 30-strong marching band, were led on a quick-march parade through Lyndhurst by Lieutenant Colonel Kirsten Dagless RLC.
We estimate around a thousand people turned out in the sunshine to proudly cheer on the regiment as they marched up the High Street with 'swords drawn, bayonets fixed, bands playing and colours flying'.
Cllr Beck said, "What an honour to be stood on that platform and see the troops form up in excellent order, and, on behalf of the council, to grant the regiment freedom in recognition of their distinguished contribution to the life and community of the New Forest."
As a former Royal Marine, Cllr Beck is no stranger to military events and proceedings, and described the parade and event on Sunday as a proud moment and highlight of his role as Chairman.
At Appletree Court, Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire - Brigadier David Harrison JP DL, and Freeman of the New Forest District - Dame Mary Fagan DCVO, as well as other invited guests and military families, were shown a display of military equipment including a dive tank and diver, a 50 tonne crane, and a combat support boat. Guests then enjoyed afternoon tea as Cllr Beck gave a speech of thanks, saying, "The Regiment is well-deserving of this honour and is held in high esteem locally. I am proud that we have been able to formally mark the District Council's regard by granting the Freedom"