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Suffolk/Ipswich: Unite in pride to welcome The Vikings home

PUBLISHED: 12:57 10 October 2012

The Royal Anglians on parade

The Royal Anglians on parade

Archant © 2007

OUR troops are coming home... and now it’s your chance to Honour Our Heroes.

Members of the 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment (The Vikings) are on their way back to this country from the battlefield and will parade through the heart of Ipswich on November 5 – providing the chance for the public to show how much we appreciate the sacrifice they have made for us.

Since operations in Afghanistan began in 2002, The Vikings have been at the forefront of the effort to bring peace and stability to the troubled country.

Their work has come at a devastating cost – 16 soldiers have been killed while many more have been seriously injured.

The homecoming parade will offer the people of Ipswich and Suffolk with the opportunity to thank the heroes and heroines who have gone about their dangerous and often gruelling responsibilities with absolute professionalism and unflinching bravery.

We are proud of their work – and today civic leaders backed The Star’s campaign and urged as many people as possible to show that pride by lining the route as they march through the town centre.

The Vikings recruit throughout East Anglia, and their members come from towns and cities across the region.

The week starting November 5 will see a number of parades, starting in Ipswich and finishing at Peterborough.

Organisers are hoping that people from throughout Suffolk will come into Ipswich to welcome home the troops, show their support – and give a boost to businesses in the town centre.

Previous homecoming parades in Norwich and Bury St Edmunds have seen the crowds turn out to give the troops a rousing welcome – and there are hopes that the same will happen in Suffolk’s county town.

The march through Ipswich will start at 12.30pm from the junction of Westgate Street and High Street and will be: Cornhill (Inspection) – Tavern Street – Northgate Street – Upper Brook Street – Butter Market – Queen Street/King Street – Corn Exchange.

Ipswich mayor Mary Blake said: “We are very proud of our armed services in general and the Royal Anglians in particular. They had a very difficult job and we admire the professionalism they have shown in carrying out their duties in Afghanistan.

“I am sure that many thousands of people in Ipswich will join me and the borough council in welcoming them on their Homecoming Parade.”

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer urged everyone who could to join the crowds: “I am really looking forward to being part of what should be a massive display of appreciation for the extraordinary courage and commitment of our troops.

“The Royal Anglian Regiment is very special to us because it recruits locally and retains strong links with the area. This is our chance to thank them and for the whole town to show just how much we value their work.”

n Suffolk’s ongoing commitment to support the members of the armed forces that live and work in the county is to be cemented during an historic service tomorrow.

The county has a long history of backing military personnel that live and work in the county as well as veterans and their families.

This enduring relationship is to be confirmed with the signing a landmark Community Covenant agreement at Suffolk County Council’s Endeavour House headquarters in Ipswich.

Community Covenants have already been established in Colchester, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, North Yorkshire and Doncaster to declare “mutual support and practical help” for forces personnel and their families.

They are part of a £30million national scheme launched by the Ministry of Defence to strengthen the bonds between the military and civilian communities.

n Send your messages of support to our troops: Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail star letters@archant.co.uk

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