An extraordinary honour will be bestowed on the Foot Guards by the City of Birmingham on Wednesday 21 March 2012, when they are granted the Freedom of the City.
In a very rare, if not unique distinction, all five Regiments of Foot Guards will receive the Freedom of the City. This will give them the right to march through the City with “drums beating, bayonets fixed and Colours flying”.
To celebrate this honour, a glittering parade of some 200 Officers and Guardsmen from all five Regiments of Foot Guards will march through the city watched by the Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Anita Ward, and the Major General Commanding the Household Division and London District, Major General George Norton.
The parade will be led by the Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion Irish Guards, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Ghika, as they march through the city centre bearing their Colours, accompanied by the Band of the Irish Guards.
Prior to the march off, the Lord Mayor will take the Salute in Victoria Square, in front of the Council House, and read out the Freedom Declaration, before a gracious Response by Major General Norton.
The parade will then march through the city centre between 1220 and 1240, before the Guardsmen are hosted to a civic reception.
The Lord Mayor’s son, Lance Sergeant Vince Hockley, currently serves with the 1st Battalion Irish Guards in Aldershot and is expected to be present at the parade.
Media Facility and Accreditation
1. Media wishing to cover the parade should apply no later than Monday 19 March for accreditation to Deborah Harries, Head of News, Birmingham City Council, tel 0121 303 4777, email email@example.com
2. Media should rendezvous with Deborah Harries and Belinda Steel, Army Press Officer, at the Council House entrance no later than 11.00 on Wednesday 21 March.
3. Media interviews will then be available with Major General Norton and the Lord Mayor, before the parade only.
4. The Lord Mayor’s son, Lance Sergeant Vince Hockley, who will be celebrating his 3oth birthday on the day of the parade, is expected to be present at the parade and available for interviews, beforehand only.
4. Immediately following the parade, media will be able to meet a number of Midlands Guardsmen at the parade dispersal point, at the back of the Council House.
Notes to Editors
1. Media are welcome to publish the Marching Route, which runs from Victoria Square along Colmore Row, Temple Row West, Temple Row, Cherry Street, Cannon Street and New Street before returning to the Council House.
2. For further information, please contact:
Deborah Harries, Head of News, Birmingham City Council, tel 0121 303 4777, mobile 07825 979046
Belinda Steel, Media Operations 5th Division, tel 01743 262341, mobile 07771 944780
The Foot Guards (along with their Regimental Bands) comprise:
1st Battalion Grenadier Guards
1st Battalion Coldstream Guards
1st Battalion Scots Guards
1st Battalion Irish Guards
1st Battalion Welsh Guards
Those on parade will be elements of:
Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards based at Wellington Barracks, London
Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards based at Wellington Barracks, London
F Company Scots Guards based at Wellington Barracks, London
1st Battalion Irish Guards based at Aldershot
1st Battalion Welsh Guards, based in Hounslow (about to deploy to Afghanistan)
Led by the Band of the Irish Guards based at Wellington Barracks, London
Lance Sergeant Vince Hockley, the Lord Mayor’s son, joined the Irish Guards in 1999. He has served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was badly wounded but has made a good recovery. He is currently doing a language course but plans to return to operational service in Afghanistan.
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