250 soldiers from Carver Barracks to parade through Saffron Walden

RETURNING troops of 101 Engineer Regiment (101) will be granted the Freedom of Uttlesford as part of a homecoming parade through the streets of Saffron Walden next week.

People are invited to lines the streets on Friday October 14 to welcome the troops back from Afghanistan for the morning parade.

Led by the Band of the Corps of Royal Engineers, the soldiers will step off from the district council’s offices at 11am. The route will see the soldiers march down London Road onto the High Street and King Street with a mastiff armoured vehicle.

They will continue onto the Market Square where the chairman of Uttlesford District Council, Cllr Derek Jones, will inspect the parade.

The day, organised by the district council and Saffron Walden Town Council, will see soldiers from 17 Field Squadron (EOD), 101 Eng Reg, on parade to receive the Honorary Freedom of the District.

The Wimbish-based search teams and their advisors will be joined on parade by fellow soldiers from the Royal Engineers and the Royal Logistic Corps, who together formed the C-IED Task Force in Afghanistan. Working in teams the soldiers undertake one of the most dangerous and demanding jobs in Afghanistan – to find and isolate IEDs.

Following the parade the C-IED Task Force will return to Carver Barracks to receive their Op Herrick Campaign Medals.

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The regiment’s commanding officer Lt Col Mark Budden said: “We are all looking forward to marching through the town. We have always been made to feel very welcome from the community and this is now being reinforced by the granting of the Freedom of Uttlesford.

“It is a huge honour to be able to accept this on behalf of the regiment.

“It has been a challenging and rewarding six month tour. Every soldier has shown determination and fortitude and has faced the challenges head on. The granting of the Freedom is a fitting finale to the end of the tour and we thank the local community for their support.”

Cllr Jones, who has chosen Walking with the Wounded as one of his charities for his year of office, said: “It will be a great privilege for me to bestow upon 101 Engineer Regiment (EOD) the Honorary Freedom of the District of Uttlesford. We are very proud of our regiment and the wonderful job they are all doing under extremely difficult and dangerous conditions.

“I have no doubt at all that the appreciation we have for these brave men and women will be reflected in a magnificent turnout on the day of the parade.”

Because of the march, the following traffic and parking restrictions will be in place:

• Uttlesford District Council car park will be closed from 7pm on Thursday October 13 until 3pm Friday October 14

• The Common car park will be closed from midnight until the afternoon of Friday October 14

• No parking will be permitted in High Street, King Street and the Market Square on Friday October 14 until the march has finished

• London Road, High Street, King Street and the Market Square will be closed to all traffic on Friday October 14 for the duration of the march

* All motorists are requested to ensure their vehicles are removed from the affected roads.

33 Engineer Regiment (EOD) that is also based at Carver Barracks received the Honorary Freedom of the District in 2009.