PROUD FAMILY AND FRIENDS will throng the streets of Sunderland on Saturday June 29 for the 4th Regiment Royal Artillery Freedom of the City Parade.
The Regiment, known as the “North East Gunners”, was granted this civic honour by the people of Sunderland in 1974, and will exercise its right to march through the city centre at 4pm after an operational service medal and active service commemorative coin presentation at the Cenotaph with official proceedings beginning at 3pm.
Campaign medals will be presented by The Lord Lieutenant of The County of Tyne and Wear, Nigel Sherlock OBE, The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Robert Heron, Commander Royal Artillery 3 (UK) Division, Colonel LK Ford MBE and the Honorary Regimental Colonel Brigadier A J Faith CBE.
More than 300 members of 4th Regiment Royal Artillery will march in the parade and take part in the presentation, and will joined by the Heavy Cavalry and Cambria Band.
Known as the ‘North East Gunners’ because of its strong links with the community with more than two-thirds of recruits drawn from across the region, the Regiment traditionally exercises its Freedom with a parade through the city centre.
Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Paul Watson said: “I hope the people of our city will join us to support the parade which celebrates the close bond between the 4th Regiment Royal Artillery and Sunderland.
“Our relationship goes back many years and I know how proud everyone in this city is of the ‘Gunners’. It is always an honour to welcome the 4th Regiment Royal Artillery back to Sunderland and everyone is very proud to see the ‘Gunners’ mark their Freedom of the City with this parade.”
In the last ten years, 4th Regiment Royal Artillery has served in Macedonia, Northern Ireland, Iraq and on peace-keeping duties with the United Nations in Cyprus, as well as Afghanistan. Their most recent tour was their third and last operational tour to Afghanistan.
Lieutenant Colonel Richard Wallwork, Commanding Officer of 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, said: “The Regiment is immensely proud of its association with Sunderland as our home city. It will be an honour to once again mark the Freedom of the City at the same time as the rest of the country celebrates Armed Forces Weekend.
“The Regiment will proudly march through the City so that those who have recently returned from Afghanistan can receive their operational service medal.”