History was made in Kimberley as thousands of people lined the streets of the town to cheer on heroic troops during a rousing and moving military parade.
The event last Saturday was bathed in sunshine and the town was turned into a sea of patriotic red, white and blue.
The parade, which has been described as a “spectacle”, saw 150 soldiers from 170 (Infastructure Support) Engineer Group march through Kimberley. The unit has seen service in Afghanistan.
They were joined by v eterans from the Royal Engineers Association and led by the Nottinghamshire Band of the Royal Engineers (Volunteers).
The march began at 11am and a huge crowd followed the parade through Kimberley as the Chilwell-based troops exercised their Right of Freedom of Entry to the Borough of Broxtowe.
The march went to Hall Om Wong Park where there was a Drum Head Service of rememberance was given by the Reverend Barbara Holbrook to commemorate 100 years since the outbreak of World War One.
Cllr David Nunn, vice-chairman of Kimberley Town Council, said it was the best day in Kimberley’s recent history.
“What a spectacle to see members of the 170 Engineer Group followed by veterans from the Royal Engineers Association,” he said.
“Soldiers marched through our town with bayonets fixed, drums beating, bands playing and banners flying high in recognition of the confidence, trust and friendship that exists between citizens and soldiers.”
David paid tribute to the efforts of all involved in the day who together made the event a huge success.
He added: “The march really brought the local community together, the WI, Scouts, Guides, police and both councils all got involved.
“I’d like to say thanks to the shopkeepers who turned the town into a sea of red, white and blue and above all thanks to the public for showing such magnificent support.”
The Mayor Broxtowe, Cllr Stan Heptinstall, said he was absolutely overwhelmed by the fantastic turnout.
He added: “Thousands of local people lined the route to the park cheering and flag waving as the troops marched past.
“All the way along the route there was red, white and blue bunting and the community spirit shone through along with the sunshine.
“The atmosphere was fantastic and will be something that will be remembered for a long time to come by the community.”
Also in attendance at the event on Saturday was Chief of Staff, HQ Army, Major General TR Urch CBE (Late RE) and HM Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Sir John Peace.
Broxtowe Borough Council unanimously agreed to confer the Freedom of Entry to the Borough of Broxtowe upon the 170 Engineer Group in recognition of their outstanding achievements.