Ipswich: Vikings preparing for Homecoming parade through the town

WITH just days to go before they march through the town on their homecoming parade, members of the Royal Anglians have spoken of their pride at taking part in the event.

The march through the town on Monday lunchtime will give members of the 1st Battalion the Royal Anglians (The Vikings) the chance to parade in front of their families and friends.

Lance Corporal Ashley Fiddes, 25, has just completed his second tour of Afghanistan.

He said: “It makes me feel very good to know that my family and friends will be there. We are all looking forward to the homecoming parades next week.

“When you are out in Afghanistan you look forward to coming home like this. It should be really good.”

L Cpl Fiddes’s fiancee Lucy along with the rest of his family will be watching with pride as the former Stoke High student marches through the town.

Private Karl Ewer, 20, has just completed his first tour of Afghanistan after two-and-a-half years with the Royal Anglians.

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The former Chantry High School pupil said he was looking forward to marching through the town watched by his family and girlfriend Holly.

He said: “It was both exciting and frightening in Afghanistan, but we all looked forward to coming home.

“We were well trained and well prepared before we went out there – but we were always looking forward to coming home and this will be great.”

Private Aaron Liddle arrived in Afghanistan towards the end of the tour of duty after only joining the Royal Anglians seven months ago.

The 21-year-old former Deben High School student said: “My family will be coming from Felixstowe to see the parade, it should be a good day.

“In a way I would like to have spent longer in Afghanistan with the rest of the troops, but it is wonderful to be home again and I will be very proud to be taking part in the parade.”

The parade starts at 12.30pm in Westgate Street and the main salute will be taken on the Cornhill by Ipswich mayor Mary Blake and other civic dignitaries.

The Royal Anglians – about 260 including a 30-piece band – then marches through the town before returning for a reception at the Corn Exchange.

It is the first of a series of homecoming parades across the region – but yesterday troops were presented with campaign medals to mark their action in one of the world’s most dangerous countries.

That ceremony took place at their base in Wiltshire before they travel back to East Anglia for next week’s celebrations.

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