Dewsbury to honour Yorkshire regiment the Rifles with Freedom of town

HONOUR: The Rifles are to be given the Freedom of Dewsbury.

HONOUR: The Rifles are to be given the Freedom of Dewsbury.

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DEWSBURY is to honour a regiment of serving soldiers by presenting them with the Freedom of the town.

The Rifles will be given the Freedom of Dewsbury during a civic ceremony this summer.

It is the highest honour a town can bestow and means the regiment has the privilege to march through Dewsbury with its colours flying.

During the ceremony, the regiment will be presented with a scroll granting the Freedom of the town and will give a bugle in return.

Coun Eric Firth, who is due to be the next Mayor of Kirklees, is behind the event.

“Huddersfield had a Freedom parade last year and I thought it was about time Dewsbury had its own,” he said.

“The Rifles have agreed to come early this summer. There will be a very large contingent coming with the band to parade around the town. The Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire will be there too.

“It’s a triumph for Dewsbury and it’s something to celebrate.”

The date for the ceremony is still to be finalised, but it is expected to attract thousands of people from across the region.

The Rifles has close links with Yorkshire and has already been granted the Freedom of Wakefield and Leeds.

It was formed in 2007 when the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI) and three other regiments joined together.

Dewsbury granted the Freedom to the KOYLI in 1947, but this summer’s event will be the first time the regiment has returned.

Coun Firth (Lab, Dews East) said: “There are lots of veterans, lots of people who have served and lots of people still in the armed forces in this town. There are a lot of proud people in Dewsbury and mums and dads who will really celebrate this.

“It will be a day to remember.”