'Our boys' get a heroes' welcome
The people of Mansfield turned out and lined the streets of the town to give a heroes' welcome to local troops following their return from Afghanistan.
Around 80 troops from the 2nd Battalion of the Mercian Regiment marched through the town centre on Tuesday 11th March as the regiment exercised its Freedom of Mansfield.
Their return to the area is given added poignancy as their number will not include Mansfield soldier Damian Wright (23), tragically killed by a roadside bomb in September whilst on operations in the notorious Halmand Province.
It was the first time the Mercian Regiment – which was only formed last year - exercised its right to march through Mansfield. The freedom was formerly held by the regiment's predecessor, the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters.
The parade included a large number of soldiers from the Mansfield district and surrounding towns. They made the short march along West Gate and into the Market Place at 3pm.
The Lord Lieutenant Sir Andrew Buchanan took the salute and, with Mansfield District Council Executive Mayor Tony Egginton, inspected the troops in the Market Place.
Mayor Egginton also officially extended the Freedom of Mansfield to the regiment.