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Helston turns out for freedom parade

23 September 2016
Helston came to a standstill as Sailors and Airman from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose paraded through the ancient Cornish town of Helston.

The Annual Freedom of Helston Parade brought children and adults onto the streets lining the ceremonial route, as well as friends and families from those proudly marching through the town, with ‘Swords drawn, Bayonets fixed, Bands playing and Colours flying’.

The Parade had earlier been inspected by the Mayor of Helston Councillor Gillian Geer accompanied by Sub Lieutenant Dave Andrew, the Parade Commander and Captain Dan Stembridge, Commanding Officer RNAS Culdrose.

Helston Mayor, Gillian Geer, who was very impressed by the smart appearance and bearing of everyone said, “Helston places a great value on family and indeed Culdrose and the Town are one big family. Over the years we have been proud of your work since 1947 and are proud to work, to live and play with you in our community. The freedom of our town confirms it.”

“I am delighted to follow all my previous Mayors and reiterating our closeness, our oneness with you. Thank you all for being part of the Helston Family over the years and for parading today in such style to celebrate our relationship.”

I would personally like to thank Helston for the warmth and unprecedented support shown to all 3000 Royal Navy and civilian personnel

Captain Dan Stembridge, Commanding Officer of RNAS Culdrose

The Freedom of the Borough of Helston was bestowed on HMS Seahawk in 1958, and RNAS Culdrose annually exercises this right. Taking the salute with the Mayor of Helston was Commanding Officer Captain Stembridge and members of the town council.

“RNAS Culdrose is an operational Air Station at the forefront of our nation’s defence,” said Capt Stembridge. “I would personally like to thank Helston for the warmth and unprecedented support shown to all 3000 Royal Navy and civilian personnel. Many of our people cannot be here to enjoy today as they remain on call 24/7 defending our nation’s borders or deployed overseas protecting UK interests.”

“With the arrival of the Queen Elizabeth carriers, the largest and most powerful warships ever built for the Royal Navy; your Air Station at Culdrose will play a crucial role in providing the air group to protect the carriers from threats under, on and above the waves.”

“This is an exciting and busy period for us at RNAS Culdrose, which we are delighted to be sharing with you.”

‘The Freedom of a Town’ dates when fortress walls were necessary to protect its inhabitants from outlaw bands and attacks. Bodies of armed men were refused entry unless citizens were confident they meant no harm.

The granting of permission to enter a town became a mark of trust and confidence from the town. To be granted ‘The Freedom of a Town’ is the greatest honour that can be bestowed on a unit within the Armed Forces.

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