An Army Regiment will exercise a prestigious honour and parade through the streets of Faringdon at midday on Sunday 25 June.
In 2016 the Rifles was granted The Freedom of the Vale of White Horse, which allows it to enter and parade through the towns and villages within the Vale. It will exercise the honour in Faringdon to mark the granting of this privilege to the regiment.
The Regiment will march into the Market Square at around midday. An inspection and speeches by the Vice Lord Lieutenant, Mr John Harwood, the Chairman of the Vale of White Horse Councillor Reg Waite and the Rifles Colonel Greater London & Home Counties Brigadier Rob Thomson DSO OBE will then take place.
The Rifles officer commanding the parade will officially ask permission to exercise the Freedom before the parade marches up Church St before returning for the Vice Lord Lieutenant to take the salute.
About 140 members of the Regiment are expected to take part in the parade.
The Chairman of the Vale of White Horse Cllr Reg Waite said: “The Rifles were awarded The Freedom of the Vale to mark the wonderful contribution it makes to our community and the wider society. I look forward to seeing many residents join us on Sunday 25 June to celebrate the regiment as it parades through Faringdon town centre.”
Lt Col Graham Cox, the Commanding Officer of 7 RIFLES, said: “The Rifles are honoured to have the opportunity to exercise the Freedom of the Vale of White Horse in Faringdon. Our bonds with the town have a long and distinguished history; the honour of parading is a significant one and one which our local Riflemen are deeply proud of.”
The Freedom of the Vale of White Horse was conferred on the Rifles at the District Council meeting held on 11 May 2016.
It was given as a mark of the town’s respect and appreciation for the regiment’s service to the country.
It had not previously been granted to any of the Rifles forming or antecedent regiments, although historically it holds the Freedom of Abingdon within the Vale.
The Rifles came into existence on 1 February 2007, after the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire & Wiltshire Regiment– the successor to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment, which in turn had absorbed the Royal Berkshire Regiment – amalgamated with the Light Infantry, the Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry and the Royal Green Jackets.
The Rifles’ five regular battalions are based in Aldershot, Bulford, Chepstow, Edinburgh & Lisburn in Northern Ireland.
Its two reserve battalions have headquarters in Exeter and Reading. Locally companies in Abingdon & Reading are supported by platoons in Aylesbury, High Wycombe & Swindon.
A free talk entitled “Redcoats to Riflemen” on the history of the regiment and its’ relationship to Faringdon is being given in the Corn Exchange at 7.30pm on Friday 23 June. Tickets obtainable from the TIC.
The following roads will be subject to closure on the day:
- Market Place
- Gloucester Street – from its junction with Gravel Walk to Market Place
- Gloucester Street car park – including the access road
- Marlborough Street – from its junction with Bromsgrove to Market Place
- Church Street – from its junction with Coach Lane to Market Place
- Radcot Road -from its junction with Faringdon House to Church Street
- London Street – from its junction with Swan Lane and Skinners Lane to Market Place
- Southampton Street – from its junction with Southampton Street car park to Market Place
Road closures will be in place from 7am until 3pm on the day of the event.
Gloucester Street car park will be closed from 4pm on Saturday 24 June until after the event.
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils