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Army engineers strengthen community links

A battalion of Army engineers has celebrated receiving the Freedom of Wrexham with a march through the Welsh town.

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Wrexham's Lord Mayor greets soldiers outside the town's Guildhall
Wrexham's Lord Mayor greets soldiers outside the town's Guildhall

More than 250 troops from 101 Force Support Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, recently returned from UN peacekeeping duties in Cyprus, took part in the march through the town centre.

Led by the Band of The Parachute Regiment, the soldiers began the march from their base at Hightown Barracks in south-east Wrexham, on the morning of 4 April, marching through the town before arriving at the Guildhall.

101 Force Support Battalion has been based at Hightown Barracks since 1999 and has formed close links with the county borough.

The Freedom of the Borough was signed at a special council meeting that took place prior to the parade. During the meeting the council, along with many other organisations, also signed a Community Covenant with the Armed Forces.

The covenant is a voluntary pledge of mutual support between a civilian community and its local Armed Forces community and Wrexham is the 13th local authority in Wales to have signed up.

Wrexham's Lord Mayor inspects soldiers
Wrexham's Lord Mayor, Councillor Ian Roberts, inspects soldiers of 101 Force Support Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers [Picture: Crown copyright]

Wrexham’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Ian Roberts, said:

The honour of the Freedom of the County Borough of Wrexham is a rare privilege. It has only been granted by this authority twice previously - to the Royal Welsh and to double-gold-medal-winning Olympian Tom James.

On behalf of the council I offer the warmest congratulations to the battalion and we wish you all success in the future.

Lieutenant Colonel James Heardman, Commanding Officer of 101 Force Support Battalion, accepted a sealed copy of the resolution from the mayor. He said:

Today is a very special day for the Armed Forces in North Wales and for those based in Wrexham in particular.

The signing of the Community Covenant also marks an important milestone in cementing the relationship between the people of Wrexham and the Armed Forces community, be they cadets, or those currently serving or having served.

Our recent peacekeeping mission in Cyprus required dedication, perseverance and patience and the soldiers have made a lasting contribution to the UN mission on the island.

Published 11 April 2013