The Lord Mayor of Leeds has given a local military battalion a high honour in a ceremony in the city centre over the weekend.
Councillor Asghar Khan granted the 4th Battalion, Parachute Regiment, Freedom to the City in a parade on Saturday.
Troops from 4PARA took to Millennium Square to show appreciation for the honour.
Freedom of the City is an honour given by a local council, for example, to either a person (civilian) or military unit, in recognition of their exceptional service to the City.
It’s one of the UK’s oldest surviving traditional ceremonies, dating back to ancient Rome. Traditionally, a military unit or regiment with Freedom of the City was allowed to march into the City “with drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed”.
However, today this freedom is carried out through Freedom Parades.
The honour hasn’t been given out to a regiment in Leeds in around five decades. Over 120 paratroopers, para cadets and veterans took part in the march.
Rhys O’ Rourke, the press officer for the British Army (York), said: “The 4th Battalion, Parachute Regiment, known as 4PARA, was granted the Freedom of the City of Leeds by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Asghar Khan.
“It is a civic honour that is given to military units due to their close association with a particular area. They show appreciation for this honour by marching through the city and putting on a bit of a show.
“4PARA are the first military unit to be given the honour in Leeds since the 1970s, and that was to a Royal Navy ship, so this is the first honour for an Army regiment in quite a while.”
The event brought together 4PARA, past, present and future as they put on the parade.
The troops marched onto Millennium Square at 11.30am and received a civic welcome from the Lord Mayor, Cllr Kahn.
4PARA was accompanied by the British Army Band Catterick as they marched through the city centre.
They were then inspected by General Sir Giles Hill, the Lord Mayor and the Leeds Children’s Mayor Zulayka Hussain.
Asian Standard has reached out to the Lord Mayor for a comment. Check back regularly for updates.