THE RIFLES will exercise their Freedom of the City of Sunderland by conducting a parade in the city this upcoming weekend.

Bestowed with this civic honour by the residents of Sunderland in 2010, the regiment will assert their privilege to march through the city on the morning of Sunday, November 5th.

The parade through the city centre will include members of the 3rd and 8th Battalion The Rifles, many of whom have recently been on operational duties and cadets from Durham Army Cadet Force.

It will be led by the Band & Bugles of The Rifles supported by the Band & Bugles of The County Durham Army Cadet Force. A number of veterans from the Durham Light Infantry Association will also be on parade.

A successor to famous regiments including the Durham Light Infantry and the Light Infantry, the Rifles are seen as the infantry regiment of Sunderland and actively recruit service personnel from the city and surrounding area.  

The Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Dorothy Trueman, said: “Our relationship with The Rifles goes back many years. We’re incredibly proud of our close bonds with them and it’s a great honour to welcome them back to Sunderland.

“The Freedom Parade is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the close ties we have with the Rifles and pay tribute to everything they do to support our national defences.

“I’m looking forward to giving them a warm welcome on their return to Sunderland and I hope that the people of our city and the wider region will join me in showing our support for the Rifles by turning out to cheer on the Freedom Parade on Sunday 5 November.”

The Rifles Colonel North, Brigadier Mark Wilson MBE, said: “The Rifles are proud to exercise their Freedom of Sunderland today and of their longstanding link to the City of Sunderland which, though our predecessors, has endured for many years. We are looking forward to that link remaining for many years to come.” 

The Rifles Regiment is the largest infantry regiment in the British Army. After being actively involved in recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is currently involved in operations in support of the country’s national defence.

The parade will step off from the top of Burdon Road at 10.50am on Sunday 5 November before forming up at the War Memorial at 11.00am for a review, where they will be inspected by the Mayor of Sunderland Councillor Dorothy Trueman and the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, Lucy Winskill OBE.

It will then march through the city centre, including along Fawcett Street and High Street West, before returning to the War Memorial where the Mayor and Lord Lieutenant will take the salute.

There will be road closures in operation for the event, with Burdon Road closed 09.00am to 1.00pm and Fawcett Street, High Street West, Union Street and Station Street closing 10.00am to 1.00pm. These road closures will be opened once the Parade has completed.

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