Leeds: A city’s salute for the heroism of its troops

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The people of Leeds turned out in force to help the city salute the bravery of the country’s military heroes.

Soldiers from The Rifles regiment were cheered through the streets as they exercised their right to the freedom of Leeds with a rousing parade on Saturday.

After setting out from Millennium Square, the parade wound its way along roads including Vicar Lane and Briggate before returning to its starting point.

The 300-strong band of Riflemen was then greeted by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, councillor Tom Murray, ahead of a civic reception.

Coun Murray said later: “It was a source of pride to see so many people from all parts of our great city turning out to support them.

“It was a real spectacle, with Leeds folk warmly applauding the Rifles and giving them a real Yorkshire welcome.”

The Assistant Colonel Commandant of The Rifles, Major General Tim Evans, said: “Thank you to the good people of Leeds for allowing The Rifles to exercise the freedom of [the city].”

Formed in 2007, The Rifles counts The King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI) and The Light Infantry among its predecessor regiments.

The KOYLI received the freedom of Leeds in 1946, with the same honour being conferred on The Rifles in 2008.

* Saturday’s parade came amid criticism of Leeds’s failure to schedule any events for Armed Forces Day.

The city will not stage a single official celebration this coming Saturday. City council bosses said the parade by The Rifles was the focus of their Armed Forces Day activity.

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