December 4 2013 Latest news:
By dominic bareham
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Civic leaders and MPs from across Norfolk were full of praise for Diss following the Royal Anglian Regiment’s parade, which police estimated attracted over 7,000 spectators.
Norfolk’s High Sheriff Henry Cator and Lord Lieutenant Richard Jewson were joined by South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon at yesterday’s parade along Mere Street to the Market Place and then to the top of St Nicholas Street.
Diss Mayor Graham Minshull gave a welcome address to the soldiers in the Market Place and said he was “amazed” at the number of people in the town centre.
He added: “It was amazing. From what I could see the whole town was chocca block, everywhere you looked there were people lining the streets.
“I don’t think you will see an event like that for quite a long time in Diss, it was an amazing day for the town.”
Mr Bacon also praised the people of Diss for turning out in force to support the troops and was moved to hear 16 of the Regiment’s soldiers had died since the war in Afghanistan began.
He added: “It was a truly grand occasion indeed and I think from talking to some of the soldiers afterwards they were bowled over by it.
“I know from talking to the colonel of the regiment he has been to a number of different events of this type and he said he had never encountered a reception like it from the people.”
Mr Cator said: “I have to say that town of Diss has done Norfolk proud. They have put so much effort into it and it really showed.
“The whole atmosphere was one of gratitude and respect for the young soldiers who have been fighting in Afghanistan with the Royal Anglian Regiment.”
Lance Cpl Matthew Roberts, 22, from Harleston and Pte Steven Sheard, 19, from Rickinghall, are two local soldiers from the 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment, who took part in the parade in front of their families and friends.
Lance Cpl Roberts said: “It is quite nice to be able to parade in my home town and it was such a good turnout.”
Pte Sheard said: “I was surprised so many people turned out, especially as Diss is a small town. We all felt really humbled, to be honest.”
For Diss town clerk Deborah Sarson the parade represented the culmination of months of hard work and preparation to get Diss ready for the big day.
“I am relieved, but kind of sad as well because it feels like it is monthd and months of planning and suddenly it is all over in a flash, but the feedback has been really positive and the colonel of the Regiment said it was one of the best parades he had ever been to.”
Diss town councillor Keith Kiddie served in the army with the Royal Fusilliers for 38 years and said he understood the importance of the public’s support to the troops.
He added: “I thought it was a remarkable effort from the town and it really did show people appreciate their county regiment.”