Mayor thanks Taunton for Marine parade success

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By Taunton Deane Borough Council | Sunday, November 21, 2010, 00:11

MAYOR of Taunton Deane, Councillor Jefferson Horsley, warmly thanked all those who turned out in pouring rain to watch 40 Commando Royal Marines march through Taunton on a homecoming parade.

Thousands lined the streets to cheer the troops who have recently returned to their base at Norton Fitzwarren after a gruelling tour of duty in Afghanistan. The unit lost 14 men during its six-month deployment in Helmand province.

Secretary of State for defence, Dr Liam Fox, joined the Mayor and other dignitaries including Somerset’s Lord Lieutenant Lady Gass, High Sheriff Patricia Hunt and Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Police Colin Port for the occasion – one of the biggest events yet hosted by Taunton Deane Borough Council.

The Mayor said: “It was truly wonderful to see so many people brave such terrible weather to pay tribute to 40 Commando.

“We have adopted them as honorary citizens. I can truly say that wherever I go in Taunton Deane there is a sense of togetherness and support that goes beyond normal relationships even expected in garrison towns.  They indeed are special to us.

“We can only pay homage to the brave members of 40 Commando who have just returned from Afghanistan. It is fitting that they should exercise their right to march through Taunton and that, we the people, should turn out to greet them.

“Nearly all the citizens of Taunton Deane will have been touched in one way or another by the losses that they experienced during their tour of duty. We have prayed for them and their families and we have acknowledged their suffering and the dangers that they confronted. Let them revel in their safe homecoming and let us pray for a peaceful future for all of us.”

The Secretary of State, who visited Afghanistan on Remembrance Sunday, said: “40 Commando Royal Marines return to this warmest of welcomes after a tour in which their hard work and sacrifice has made us here at home safer.

“They have achieved much and paid a high price for those achievements. They deserve our thanks.”

The parade gave 40 Commando the opportunity to exercise their Freedom of the Borough of Taunton Deane as they did in 2008 when they marched through the town following a tour of duty on Afghanistan.

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