Market Drayton’s support for the armed forces was on display again on Sunday during the Royal British Legion’s annual parade and service.
Crowds watched as the parade made its way along Frogmore Road and Shropshire Street to a service at St Mary’s Church, led by Rev Martin Tanner.
The parade included youngsters from the town’s Guide and Scout groups, Army and Air Force Cadets, and almost 90 soldiers from the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment before their tour of duty in Afghanistan this summer.
It was the last official occasion for Market Drayton mayor Councillor Roy Aldcroft who welcomed guests, including Newport mayor Roy Scammell and RBL county president Sir Charles Soame BT.
After the service, the parade made its way down Cheshire Street for a salute outside the town library.
RBL women’s section president Gwen Bratton said: “There was a marvellous turnout, the weather was so kind to us and it was so good to have the Royal Irish Regiment with us. “We started the parade ten years ago, we put an awful lot of work into it and we hope to continue having it because it’s important to make ourselves known in the community.”
RBL Market Drayton branch president Brian Gillow said: “I’ve been branch president for quite a number of years and I’ve been delighted by how the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment has got on with the town.
“I’m sure the thoughts of the people of Market Drayton will be with them throughout their tour in Afghanistan and I hope it’s as successful as the previous one was.”
Market Drayton mayor Councillor Roy Aldcroft said: “Sunday’s parade was my last official function as Mayor of Market Drayton and the last parade, for a while at least, to be led by the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment.
“I certainly felt humbled that even in the midst of intense training for their forthcoming tour in Afghanistan, the regiment made time to lead the parade through the town, providing what are now familiar tunes to quite a crowd of spectators.”
Major Eamonn Coogan of the Royal Irish Regiment said: “You wouldn’t think we were an Irish battalion – you’d think that we were from Market Drayton with the way people turned out for the parade.
“They were wishing us luck for Afghanistan and it’s wonderful how the community has grabbed hold of us and brought us to their hearts.”
By Winston Brown