The Mercian Regiment Freedom Marches in Derbyshire
12:57 07 December 2010
Thousands of people lined the streets to cheer the soldiers of the 2nd Battalion Mercian Regiment as they marched through the countys towns. Long Eaton and Ilkeston, Glossop, Ripley, Ashbourne, Matlock and Chesterfield all welcomed around 300 soldiers of the regiment who returned from a six-month tour of Afghanistan last November. The Derbyshire Dales District Council made the Mercian Regiment an Honorary Freeman of the District of Derbyshire Dales earlier this year, an honour which gives them the freedom to march through the streets of the district with bayonets fixed, drums beating and colours flying. Parades involving the regimental band and the ram mascot Private Derby were greeted by enthusiastic and often emotional supporters keen to show their appreciation for a battalion whose origins within the county date back hundreds of years.
In Matlock the March started at Matlock Towns Causeway Lane ground and finished at Artists Corner in Matlock Dale, with a salute taken by the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire William Tucker at Park Head, Hall Leys Park. The parade was again followed by a reception and medal presentation. In Chesterfield the soldiers and regimental band marched on a circular route from the Town Hall where the Mayor of Chesterfield, Cllr Adrian Kitch, took the salute.