Air force reservists were thanked for their service to county and country as they were given the Freedom of Entry to Oakham.
No. 504 (County of Nottingham) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, paraded through the town yesterday (Sunday). The squadron was based at RAF Cottesmore until the Army took over in 2012 and is now based at RAF Wittering. Members have taken part in the annual remembrance parade since the mid 1990s.
Oakham Town Council decided to honour the squadron for its contribution to global conflicts as well as the Rutland community. Mayor Jayne Woodcock watched the squadron practising on Saturday before the parade on Sunday.
“They all worked to hard to get it right and it worked so well on the day,” she said. “It was lovely to see them practising.
“We had a great turnout and people were waving RAF and Union Jack flags. All along the route there were people clapping and showing their respect.”
The day began with a a dedication service conducted by Canon Lee Francis-Dehqani in All Saint’s Church at 2pm, assisted by Rev Brian Nicholls, officiating chaplain to the military.
After the service 504 Sqn formed up in Market Place for an inspection by the Lord Lieutenant of Rutland Dr Laurence Howard and the mayor. Coun Woodcock then presented the scroll granting the freedom, which will be ‘trooped through the ranks’ on parade.
Coun Woodcock said the honour of the Freedom of Entry to Oakham was not given lightly.
“It’s something that a group has earned,” she said. “504 have traditionally attended all of our remembrance parades. They also quite a lot of support over the years and have recently been in Afghanistan.
“They have not only helped us as a town but they have served their country.”
Coun Woodcock was also pleased to be representing her home county of Nottinghamshire, where 504 Sqn originated.