South East Wales

Military medics hold Cardiff freedom parade

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionCol Tina Donnelly, the Welsh Medics commanding officer, was presented with the honorary title at City Hall

Army medics granted the freedom of Cardiff have marched in the city to celebrate the honour.

Reserve soldiers from 203 (Welsh) Field Hospital paraded after a Royal Gun Salute at City Hall in celebration of the Queen's birthday on Monday.

Members recently returned from their second tour of Afghanistan, where they provided treatment for soldiers at Camp Bastion.

The unit is only the ninth organisation given the freedom honour since 1886.

The Welsh Medics were established in the mid 1990s, although there has been Welsh reserve hospital support based in Cardiff under various names since World War One.

Based at the Territorial Army centre at Llandaff North, they support the Army on overseas tours and operations.

'Hugely proud'

Cardiff council leader, Councillor Phil Bale, said the medics were true ambassadors for the city.

"By making them honorary freeman we are recognising the strong links and significant contribution the unit makes to Cardiff," he said.

Col Tina Donnelly, commanding officer of the 203 (Welsh) Field Hospital, said the unit was "hugely proud" to be able to march through the city, especially in what was in effect a centenary year for the medics group.

Col Donnelly said the survival rate for severe trauma cases at Camp Bastion was 98%.

She said: "From our own perspective, to see people with amputations surviving and also going on to lead quite a productive life, whilst you don't want to see them injured, the whole point of us being a field hospital with people from the Welsh NHS is to go out and care for them when it is most needed.

"To know that after 100 years and several deployments, Cardiff council is recognising the unit in this way is an absolute privilege and an honour."

The award, a purely honorary title, was presented at a ceremony at City Hall followed by the civic centre parade.

Others to have received the honour in the past are Dame Shirley Bassey, Nelson Mandela and Prince Charles.

More on this story