Several thousand people turned out in Ballymoney on Saturday (12 May) to see the Royal Irish Regiment granted the Freedom of the town by Ballymoney Council.
Soldiers from the 1st Battalion based in Shropshire and soldiers of the 2nd Battalion based in Northern Ireland were accompanied by detachments of Veterans Associations after being presented with the town’s highest honour.
The troops then exercised that Freedom with a parade led by the Royal Irish Band (TA), Regimental Mascot - Brian Boru and bearing the Regimental Colours through the town.
Honorary Colonel of the Regiment, Lieutenant General Sir Philip Trousdell described the Freedom as an enormous honour much respected by every soldier. "Soldiers are not a strange tribe, they are ordinary citizens who put on a uniform to do a unique job. A job", he added, "that they do best when they know the community at home stands behind them."
Ballymoney Mayor, Councillor Ian Stevenson said everyone in Ballymoney was proud to be able to make the gesture.