Army parade creates spectacular sight

VIDEO Despite it being a day of heavy showers, it didn't rain on their parade as the army marched through Woodbridge today to celebrate being given the freedom of the town.

DESPITE it being a day of heavy showers, it didn't rain on their parade as the army marched through Woodbridge today to celebrate being given the freedom of the town.

With swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums beating, a band playing and colours flying, it was a spectacular sight - and crowds packed Market Hill in a brief spell of sunshine to watch and see them take the salute.

Some 300 soldiers of the 23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault) exercised the ancient right to march through the town, followed by the Band of the Corps of Royal Engineers.

They were accompanied by around 30 war veterans were drew warm applause from the spectators.

The colourful parade marked the growing friendship between the soldiers, who moved into their new £80 million home of Rock Barracks at Woodbridge Airfield last summer, and the riverside town.

Since the soldiers arrived traders in the area have certainly noticed the difference in their takings, and Army personnel have been enjoying exploring the area and using its facilities.

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The Regimental Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Class 1 Iain Murison said: “As a regiment we are delighted to have been given this honour by the people of Woodbridge.

“The parade is something we are all looking forward to, and we hope to be able to show the regiment off to as many people as possible on the day.

“In our time here they have made us feel extremely welcome, and we look forward to being able to build further relationships with the local community.”

Rock Barracks will be open on Saturday June 30 to the public from 11.30am.

Visitors will have the chance to see the new facilities plus a parachute display, demonstration of military engineering skills including bridge building, and more than 100 trade stalls, and the event includes the annual Red Cross fete. Special guests will be Holby City actor Luke Roberts and former Ipswich Town star Kevin Beattie.

All profits raised will be donated to charities including the Army Benevolent Fund, St Elizabeth's Hospice, Sandlings Primary School, and Sutton Heath Childcare Centre.

Entrance is £2.50 for adults (£1.50 for Students/OAPs), with children 16 and under free.

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