Freedom day guests sought

THOSE who have done their bit to support the armed forces are being sought as guests of honour at a reception that will be held to mark a local army regiment getting Freedom of the Town status in Diss.

Town mayor Graham Minshull wants people to nominate someone they know or themselves to be at the reception at Diss Corn Hall on November 7.

However, letters explaining why must be sent to Diss Town Council’s office in Market Hill within the next few weeks, as the guestlist needs to be sent to the Ministry of Defence before it can be confirmed.

The plan is for a parade and civic reception to be held in the town in honour of the freedom status.

It will be staged just a few weeks after the local soldiers return from a six-month tour of Afghanistan.

The plan was backed unanimously by the town council when proposed last year by Mr Minshull, who said: “If it was not for those guys, we would not get to sit at town council and make the decisions we make.

“So the event is a way the town can say thank you.”

Mr Minshull expects about 10,000 people from all over Norfolk to turn out for the event, which the council has budgeted £3,000 for.

A park and ride system will be in operation on the day, with coaches hired to transport people to and from the town centre for the only homecoming event the regiment will have this year: “It is very rare for a town of Diss’ size to be able to do something this big and momentous,” Mr Minshull said.

The parade - which will involve about 250 soldiers and a marching band - will come up Mere Street, before pausing in Market Hill for the official inspection, speeches and the formal salute.

The troops will then head up for the reception.

The freedom honour will give the Royal Anglian Regiment the freedom to march through Diss with bayonets fixed, colours flying and drums beating.