Crowds turn out for homecoming troops

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300 soldiers from The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland were greeted by thousands of people as they marched down Ayr High Street as part of their homecoming celebrations.

The parade was a feast of sound and colour as the troops marched proudly through the heart of the town. The 2nd Battalion has just returned from their latest tour in Afghanistan where they played a key role protecting important officials.

The crowds thronged the streets to show their support and cheer for the soldiers as they marched down to the town hall for a civic reception with South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie and the Lord-Lieutenant of Ayrshire and Arran Mr John Duncan.

The Lord-Lieutenant then handed out operational service medals to four local soldiers who played an important role during military operations in Kabul.

Provost Moonie said: “We have always shown strong support for the armed forces in South Ayrshire and once again the public turned out in great numbers to cheer and show their appreciation for the important work they do.

“We are very proud of all their efforts and I know it meant a lot to the soldiers to not only see but hear the support during the parade. Although this was a celebration, it was also an occasion to remember those that could not make it home. I am sure I join with everyone in South Ayrshire to wish all our soldiers the very best for the future.”

Lieutenant Colonel Graeme Wearmouth OBE, Commanding Officer 2 SCOTS said: “It was a tremendous honour for the battalion to parade in Ayr and I thank the local community for its on-going support.”

People across South Ayrshire are being asked to come out and show their support for Armed Forces Day 2016. The Council will be raising a flag at a special ceremony on Saturday 18 June, County Buildings, Wellington Square, Ayr (Flagpole, Place St. Germain-en-Laye).

Armed Forces Day is a national campaign which takes place across the country, highlighting ceremonies and events which raise public awareness of the work the armed forces carry out both at home and abroad.

The ceremony will be attended by members of the armed services as well as cadets and is a chance to remember sacrifices past and present and to recognise their hard work delivering aid and supporting people across the world.

Provost of South Ayrshire, Helen Moonie, said, “We’re proud to celebrate the important work our Armed Forces do around the world and this event is a small way of recognising their dedication and support.

“2016 is a particularly poignant year given it marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles in history, something which brings back the reality of what people can face in the service of their country.

“This year our ceremony comes ahead of the Holy Fair Armed Forces Day, which gives people the chance to meet and learn from these men and women first hand, which is something that I hope they’ll choose to do.”

The Armed Forces flag raising ceremony takes place on Saturday 18th June, at Wellington Square, Ayr (Place St. Germain-en-Laye) with guests assembling at the flagpole at 11.20am ahead of the ceremony at 11.30am.

The ceremony takes place ahead of The Holy Fair Armed Forces Day between 1-4pm, Low Green, Ayr. This features a pipe band competition, military attractions, and fun family activities, meaning people will be able to meet with Armed Forces personnel and learn about their work first hand.

You can get more information on events taking place on and before national Armed Forces Day on the 27 June by visiting www.armedforcesday.org.uk/