Coldstream Guards get freedom of Devon parish Merton

The Coldstream Guards have been granted the freedom of the parish of Merton in north Devon.

The Guards marched through Merton in what was called an "incredible accolade" by the parish council.

The freedom was granted in memory of the regiment's founder, Gen George Monck, born in the village in 1608, and to mark its service to the country.

About 800 people attended a special concert by the Coldstream Guards at Exeter Cathedral.

'Great honour'

Phillip Collins of Merton Parish Council said: "The Coldstream Guards have a strong link with George Monck.

"He's a forgotten hero, a son of Merton, a phenomenal person in his day.

"It's the proudest civic day in this village, probably ever."

Lt Col Graham Jones of the Coldstream Guards said: "Merton is part of our heritage and history. It was a great honour."

The Coldstream Guards is the oldest regular regiment in the Army and is known for its distinctive black bearskin caps worn at ceremonies such as Trooping the Colour.

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