This was granted not just once but three times on Thursday. Possibly one of the most memorable Council occasions I have ever been part of. I was amongst the bravest and most decent people in this Country.
Very few things are more moving than hearing read out the names of those who have lost their lives. It is also worth remembering (as many of us did on the day), that there are others who are not killed but are maimed and can bear very serious physical and/or mental scars. In accepting the Freedom on behalf of the regiment, the Major referred to these people and he said that as a family those people would be looked after – those words meant a lot to us all.
I was also proud of the speeches that were made by various people, especially the Leader of the Council (Peter Thompson) and the Mayor (Paul Lynch). Well done to Councillor Jagdish Sharma who seconded the various reports.
A bit like the Freddie Mercury event, we had an example of the boat being pushed out and I am really glad that it was.
I was obviously unable to take pictures in the Chamber but took a few later on. How wonderful it was to see so many Union Flags being flown by those who came to cheer:
Here is the band setting up:
Fullers were big supporters and put on drinks for the boys (one of the pleasures they missed whilst in Afghanistan). I have tried to keep away from alcohol this week because I have had some bad mouth ulcers but I was determined to toast the Regiment and the two VCs. Well done to Fullers for this extremely kind gift:
An amazing week in a brilliant Borough!
Update: Here are some more pictures.