Suffolk

23 Engineer Regiment exercises freedom of Woodbridge

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Media captionTroops from 23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault) marched through Woodbridge

About 180 troops have paraded through Woodbridge in Suffolk with bayonets fixed to exercise their freedom of the town.

23 Engineer Regiment is based at nearby Rock Barracks, formerly RAF Woodbridge.

Lunch and advice from military charities was provided for about 100 services veterans who live locally.

There was also a Beating the Retreat musical parade in Elmhurst Park by the Band of the Parachute Regiment later in the day.

The regiment was given the Freedom of Woodbridge in 2006 and crowds again lined the streets on Market Hill and The Thoroughfare on their way to the swimming pool.

Lt Col Jason Hones, commanding officer, said: "Too often we get stuck behind our fences and are too busy training, so this is a chance to get out and see the local community and it's a chance for people who support us to thank us for what we do for them.

Image caption The Royal British Legion joined the parade behind the 23 Engineer Regiment

'Responsibilities'

"It was really good and heart warming to see so many people clapping and cheering us on.

"We are keenly aware of our responsibilities towards veterans and want to reach out to former military personnel in the area and ensure they are aware of the support available to them."

Patty Mulcahy, Mayor of Woodbridge, said: "It shows the community's trust in the regiment and the close ties we share."

Sheila Dorkings came from Surrey to see her son, Sgt Maj Marc Dorkings, in the parade.

"There could be more support because they do a very hard job and some people don't like them doing that job," she said.

"I was incredibly proud to see him marching through the town."

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