Town’s military past and present honoured

Military freedom of the borough march at St Helens Victoria Square.
Military freedom of the borough march at St Helens Victoria Square.

GUARDSMAN Christopher Davies’ mother and daughter today (Wednesday) collected a Freedom of the Borough scroll on behalf of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards.

Guardsman Davies’s mother, Catherine, and daughter, Lucy, were presented with the scroll from St Helens mayor Tom Hargreaves during a poignant service at St Helens Parish Church on Wednesday (April 18).

Military freedom of the borough march at St Helens Victoria Square.

Military freedom of the borough march at St Helens Victoria Square.

The fallen soldier’s girlfriend, Emma Johnson, was also among the hundreds in attendance at the service, which awarded every serviceman and woman in St Helens - both past and present - Freedom of the Borough Status.

Earlier, a procession had been led through the heart of St Helens town centre by, among others, St Helens Council leader Marie Rimmer and chief executive Carole Hudson.

Standard bearers from 19 different military regiments and associations followed close behind.

During an hour-long church service, conducted by Rev David Eastwood, local politicians paid tribute to the bravery of the town’s servicemen and women.

Coun Rimmer, who gave special mention to Guardsman Davies and Corporal Andy Reid, said: “We owe a lasting debt of gratitude to all those who have served in the armed forces to make this world a better place to live in and to give us our freedom.

“There are so many servicemen and women in this town who have bravely served their country in the past - and many young people continue to serve today in Afghanistan.

“We should never forget the constant anxiety experienced by the families left at home during times of conflict - and especially those who suffer the ultimate pain of losing a son, a daughter, a father or a mother in conflict.

“This is our way of saying thank you to every one of you.”

Local Lib Dem leader Brian Spencer said: “Some people question whether we should be involved in conflicts around the world but what is never questioned, and should never be questioned, is the dedication, loyalty and bravery of those who serve our armed forces.”

And local Tory leader Wally Ashcroft said: “What more moving service do we have than the Remembrance Service every November which gets bigger and bigger every year. It’s a testimony of the gratitude the people of St Helens feel towards our armed forces.”

Tuneful children from Queen’s Park CE Primary School also lit up the service with three pitch-perfect songs.

* For more pictures and reaction, see next Wednesday’s St Helens Reporter.