Dereham shows its support for armed forces

Breckland Council is showing its support for the armed forces by flying a flag outside the council offices.

With its close links to the Light Dragoons at Swanton Morley and RAF Marham the council was keen to be involved in the nationwide Fly A Flag event where councils, businesses, schools and other organisations raise a specially designed Armed Forces Day flag.

The event is now in its third year and in 2010 over 4000 flags were flown across the land ahead of the Armed Forces Day which this year is on Saturday.

On Monday council chairman Nigel Wilkin and chief executive Terry Huggins were joined by Squadron Leader Henry from RAF Marham and Capt Lenny Newcombe of the Light Dragoons along with Rowland Hall of the Royal British Legion, executive members, senior management and ex-forces elected members and staff to raise the flag.

Mr Wilkin said the council was proud to reaffirm its relationship with Marham and the Dragoons and demonstrate its support.

'Marham hosted the Pride in Breckland awards ceremony this year and I know this meant a great deal to the award winners,' he said. 'There was also an amazing turnout for the home-coming parade in 2009 for the Light Dragoons which showed the huge support and appreciation within the community for our armed forces. I want to thank all past and present serving members of the armed forces for their professionalism and sense of duty.

'Some members of the council have served themselves and others are related to service personnel so this means a lot to them. We are mindful that members of the armed forces make a great personal sacrifice and some have paid the ultimate sacrifice.'

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Mr Hall led a minute's silence before the flag was raised.

After the ceremony Capt Newcombe said community support meant a lot to the regiment.

'The lads have been here over 10 years now in Dereham and the support from the council and Dereham folk has been fantastic,' he said. 'The boys realised it when they did the parade that people support them and they really appreciate it when they come back and go away on tour.

'The regiment is deploying to Afghanistan again next year so most of them are out training in Canada but it looks like we will be in Swanton Morley as our base for the forseeable future.'