North East Gunners welcomed home in Sunderland

Image caption,
Streets in the city centre were crowded with people

Crowds have lined the streets of Sunderland to welcome home soldiers from Afghanistan.

Hundreds of members of 4th Regiment Royal Artillery took part in a Freedom Parade and medal presentation.

The regiment is known as the North East Gunners and was granted the Freedom of Sunderland in the early 1970s.

Commanding officer Lt Col Chris Squier said the regiment was very proud of its links with Sunderland and was honoured to mark the freedom.

He said it was an opportunity to thank the people of the city for their support during their tour of duty.

The soldiers said they were overwhelmed with the reception they had received.

The families of soldiers were among the thousands of people who gathered in the city centre to welcome the soldiers.

More than two-thirds of the regiment's recruits are from the region.

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