Cheshire East Council has saluted the bravery of our battle-hardened local regiment the 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) on its return from Afghanistan – by granting it the Freedom of the Borough.
1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment has just returned from active service on the frontline in war-torn Helmand Province.
Cheshire East Mayor Gordon Baxendale had put the motion to honour ‘The Cheshires’ and the three other Mercian battalions before the Council – and it was unanimously backed.
Representatives of The Mercian Regiment – whose motto is ‘Stand firm, strike hard’ – weregiven tributes from Council Leader Wesley Fitzgerald, Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Labour group leader Cllr Dorothy Flude and Independent group leader Cllr Paul Edwards.
Freedom of the Borough scrolls will be presented to the troops during official homecoming parades at Macclesfield and Crewe on Monday, November 8 and Congleton on Wednesday, November 10.
The servicemen and women of 1 Mercian are recruited from Congleton, Crewe, Holmes Chapel, Middlewich, Macclesfield, Sandbach and across Cheshire West.
Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Hadfield, Commanding Officer 1 Mercian, praised the work done by Cheshire East and its residents to raise the morale of troops during their tour of duty in a war zone.
He particularly praised those responsible for organising and helping the ‘Jiffy bag’ scheme, which collected thousands of parcels of treats to send to 1 Mercian troops in Helmand. Cheshire East Council collections led to more than 750 parcels being donated, with average contents costing £10 per bag. Further collections of DVDs and video games have also boosted troops in hospital recovering from injuries.
Lt Col Hadfield said: “It really has meant a great deal to our troops to know they have had the full support of the people of East Cheshire – they really appreciated it. Being granted the Freedom of the Borough is a great honour.”