Date set for Royal Anglians to receive freedom of Diss

A date has been set for soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment to receive the freedom of a Norfolk town, which has close ties with the regiment.

A parade and civic reception is set to be held in Diss on November 7 after the regiment has returned from a further tour of duty in Afghanistan, which it is set to embark on within weeks before returning in October.

The town's deputy mayor Graham Minshull proposed Diss Town Council bestow the honour at a council meeting in November to reflect the fact a number of troops from Diss were serving in the regiment.

He said there had been a number of occasions when he had been waiting for a train at the town's station and seen soldiers leaving to serve their country 'without fuss or fanfare'.

Mr Minshull is set to meet representatives from the MOD and the Anglians at the end of this month to prepare the parade route, though he anticipated one possible scenario could involve the troops marching down St Nicholas Street then turning right into Market Hill against the usual flow of traffic, then into Mere Street before assembling at Diss Park near the Mere.

The regiment will then parade back through Mere Street to the Corn Hall on Market Hill for a civic reception and signing ceremony.

A buffet and other refreshments will be provided for the parade, while a scroll will be created in recognition of the honour, with a total cost of between �2,000 and �3,000 to the council. He believed there could be a crowd of over 10,000 people in the town to watch the parade.

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'It is on a Wednesday so it is during the week, so we will have to let the schools know as they will want to attend. We think the park is an appropriate place to assemble as it is a large enough space and possibly the only area in town that is big enough.

'Hopefully, we will get good weather for the parade as November last year was a decent month, weather-wise,' Mr Minshull added.

The ancient honour will give the Anglians the freedom to march through Diss with 'drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed' any time they wish.

dominic.bareham2@archant.co.uk

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