Banbury was the place to be in Oxfordshire on Saturday as the town hosted the biggest Armed Forces Day event in the county.
The event was also one of the best in the country and was made even more special with the appearance of the Band of the Irish Guards, who led a parade from High Street to Horse Fair at 3.30pm.
Several thousand people lined the pavements and applauded one of the world’s most famous military bands as their music accompanied two moving military ceremonies.
The Freedom of Banbury was conferred on the town’s Army Reserve 142 Vehicle Squadron, and was followed by the Trooping of the Colour of the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars.
Councillor Kieron Mallon, leader of Banbury Town Council and a former Irish Guardsman, said: “This was a superb tribute to this country’s armed forces. Banbury can be proud of what took place today and it was good to see so many people line the streets and show their support by applauding as the parade passed by.
“The Band of the Irish Guards tours the world and is much in demand. For them to come here on such an important day in the military
calendar is something this town can be proud of.”
The parade included about 300 serving soldiers, volunteers, cadets and war veterans, with stalls and military displays outside the town hall until 3pm.
The Band of the Irish Guards is one of the five army bands who are part of the Household Division whose main role is to guard the Queen while also serving on operational tours and in wars abroad.
Based at Wellington Barracks in London, they made a quick turnaround on the day after perfoming in the Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle before heading to Banbury.
For more pictures see this week’s Banbury Guardian, out on Thursday.