TA to get freedom of Newham

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales is to recommend that a Territorial Army unit that has served in Afghanistan and Iraq receives the freedom of the borough.

His announcement came as he welcomed members of the TA based at The Cedars in Portway, West Ham, to the Old Town Hall in Stratford.

The Mayor said: “Saying a simple thank you for what G Company of the 7th Battalion of the Rifles Regiment does for us and the contribution they make to our community seems such a small gesture but is one I know the unit greatly appreciates.

“The support these volunteers receive from their families, friends and employers as they step forward to serve the nation as a vital part of the British Army is so valuable. That is why I will be recommending to the council that we offer freedom of the borough to G Company next year.”

Freedom of the borough is the greatest honour that can be bestowed by a civic authority upon a military unit and allows the body of troops to march through the streets of the borough.

Councillors, council officers, West Ham MP Lyn Brown and Deputy Lieutenant for Newham Colonel Mike Dudding joined the Mayor in the appreciation.

Sir Robin added: “We all want to show our pride and support for their commitment and dedication. The way these officers talk about what they have gone through in Afghanistan or Iraq, the horrors they have witnessed on the streets or in the deserts, the friends and comrades they have seen killed or badly injured is quite frankly, painful to hear.

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“The fact they deal with it with such honesty and openness fills me with admiration for how well they manage to fit back in with normal everyday life. We should all be grateful that they can combine their soldiering so well with everything else that is expected of them on Civvy Street.”

Major Micky Blake, the Officer Commanding G Company, said: “It is a great boost to morale to know that what we are doing is really appreciated. The support we receive from Newham Council is very important to us and we are proud to be based here.”