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Queen's Gurkha Signals celebrated the 10th anniversary of being granted the Freedom of Blandford


LONDON : The Queen's Gurkha Signals celebrated the 10th anniversary of being granted the Freedom of Blandford when they held a Freedom Parade through the town on the day the mayor, Steve Hitchings, was holding his Civic Day. The regiment, which has a base at Blandford Camp, was first granted the Freedom in September 2005, and their commanding officer Col Mike J Fayers said they were proud to be able to exercise that freedom which reflected not only their service in Blandford, but also their reputation for the past 201 years. Councillor Hitchings, congratulating the Gurkhas on last year celebrating the 200th anniversary of their service to the British Army, said: "You make my heart swell with pride at our association, and we thank you for your duty and dedication and coming here today to celebrate the town and your Freedom."

Led by the Gurkhas regimental band, the parade entered the town over the Town Bridge and along West Street into the Market Place where regimental sergeant major WO1 Sim Chochangi, who took over the role in April this year, presented the soldiers for inspection by the mayor, and by Dorset's Lord Lieutenant Angus Campbell and High Sheriff Sir Philip Williams. Gifts marking the anniversary - a framed print of paintings of Blandford architecture and a painting commemorating the formation of the Queen's Gurkha Signals as a unit in its own right, were exchanged between the town council and the regiment, and two soldiers carried the Freedom scroll given by the town council in 2005.

The band and soldiers marched round the town with khukuris drawn while Gurkha dancers performed a Nepalese dance and pipe display for the waiting crowds. Lunch prepared by the Gurkha caterers from Blandford Camp was then served to invited guests in the Corn Exchange.









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