Yarmouth prepares to welcome Anglians
Laura Bagshaw IN just over a week, St Nicholas Church in Great Yarmouth will host its biggest event since the memorial service for Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997.
IN just over a week, St Nicholas Church in Great Yarmouth will host its biggest event since the memorial service for Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997.
Canon Michael Woods hopes to see the 3,000-capacity church brimming for the visit by the Royal Anglian Regiment on Sunday, January 27.
Hundreds of people are expected to line the streets, cheering and waving Union flags as the soldiers march through the Market Place and on to the church for a thanksgiving service.
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Canon Woods said he was confident lots of people would turn out for the day to support the soldiers from the 1st Battalion.
He said: “There will be seats reserved in the church for the soldiers, their families and principal guests, but there will be plenty of seating and standing room for the public.
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“The last time we had an event like this at the church was for the memorial service for Diana, Princess of Wales. The key feature of this visit is that the public will get the chance to mingle with the soldiers.”
Canon Woods added he expected the Anglians to get a good send-off.
“It would be nice for the people to be outside the church when they leave, clapping and cheering for them,” he said.
Meanwhile, councils across Norfolk have joined forces to support the event, with district councils in Broadland, South Norfolk and North Norfolk donating £500 each. Yarmouth Borough Council and the Mercury have also contributed to the event.
Two barrels of beer are being donated to the soldiers by Blackfriars Brewery.
Town centre car parks at King Street, Fullers Hill, and Brewery Plain, (excluding Palmers), will be free of charge on January 27.
Soldiers will march into the Market Place at 2pm where local dignitaries and youth groups will be waiting to welcome them to the town.
Mayor Paul Garrod and the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson, will inspect the front rank before the Royal Anglians request right of Freedom of the Borough and march to the church for the service at 3pm.
Mr Garrod hopes as many people will be on the streets as possible and said bad weather was no excuse to stay away.
“If it is raining, bring an umbrella, and if it is cold, bring a coat. These lads didn't care what the weather was like when they were out in Afghanistan fighting for their country.”
The regiment returned home in October following a gruelling six-month tour of duty in Helmand Province, where they were engaged in heavy fighting with the Taliban. Nine Royal Anglians were killed, 57 became battlefield casualties and a further 77 suffered other wounds and injuries during the campaign.
Youth groups will take part in the event by creating an inner cordon as soldiers march into the Market Place.
Cpl Terry Byrne, of Winterton Marine Cadets 901 Troop, will act as parade master to the youth groups on the day and said he was hugely looking forward to the event.
Any youth groups or clubs wanting to get involved can call Laura Goodman on 01493 846125.