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Your chance to welcome Dragoons

PUBLISHED: 06:06 19 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:30 07 July 2010

The Light Dragoons parade through Dereham in 2007. Pictures:Sonya Brown

The Light Dragoons parade through Dereham in 2007. Pictures:Sonya Brown

Elaine Maslin

A free park and ride bus service from Dereham's football ground to the town centre has been organised to help make sure the biggest event in the town this year runs smoothly.

A free park and ride bus service from Dereham's football ground to the town centre has been organised to help make sure the biggest event in the town this year runs smoothly.

At least 3,000 people are expected to descend on Dereham from surrounding towns and villages as well as Thetford and further afield for the Light Dragoons home-coming parade.

Dozens of police, council staff and soldiers will be on duty to marshal the crowds and a fly-past by Apache helicopters is planned.

Some 18 standards will line the route into church and 1,300 flags are to be given out to the nine busloads of children attending from Watton, Swanton Morley, Attleborough and four schools from Dereham, who will walk in the parade.

The park and ride service, organised by Breckland Council, will run from Aldiss Park to the Market Place in Dereham between 10am and 1pm on the day of the parade, Friday, December 4.

Special parking arrangements are being made because the town's Cherry Tree car park will be used by coaches to take children to the event.

Other arrangements now made for the day include a lost children area and a section outside the old library where veterans will be able to watch the parade.

There will also be an area for people with disabilities outside NatWest Bank, and the Friday market will move, just for that day, to Cowper Road car park.

Road closures will begin on the Thursday evening, with cones being put out along Church Street and Market Place.

The parade starts at 11am led by the Parachute Regiment Band, with medals being presented to troops at 11.20am and a service in the church at 11.30am followed by a reception for invited guests.

The previous day will see a special event at Norwich Cathedral where bereaved family members of Dragoons killed in action on their tour in Afghanistan will receive the Elizabeth Cross.

Speaking at Breckland's council meeting, chairman John Rogers praised the “We're Proud of You” supplement produced by the EDP's sister paper the Dereham Times - and backed by Breckland - and said every penny would go to the Light Dragoons Trust.

It is for sale at the Times offices in Dereham and Fakenham and Swanton Morley stores and also at Breckland's offices. Marshals will also sell them to the crowds. We are asking for a minimum donation of £1.50 per copy.

Anyone wanting to make sure they have a space in the veterans' area should call Roland Hall, president of the Dereham and District branch of the Royal British Legion, on 01362 637595.

A website with up to date information on the parade, where to park and stand, is due to appear on www.edp24.co.uk. Look online for further details.

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