Ely Honours Army and Air Cadets on Armed Forces Day

Ely Honours Army and Air Cadets on Armed Forces Day

Ely’s Army and Air Cadets were awarded the Freedom of the City of Ely in a moving ceremony on Cross Green in the shadow of Ely Cathedral on Armed Forces Day today (Saturday 24th June).

The highest honour the city can award was championed by the late Mike Rouse, a former Mayor and long-serving councillor, and follows a ceremony in April when the City of Ely Council signed the Armed Forces Covenant which is a pledge that those who serve, or have served in the armed forces, and their families, will be treated with fairness and respect by their community.

The day began with a specially commissioned cry by Ely’s Town Crier, Cecilia De-Boer. In his opening address the Mayor, Cllr Chris Phillips, said: “The Armed Forces Covenant established yet another bond between Ely and the Armed Forces… today reinforces that we do indeed honour and remember all those who have served and continue to serve in our armed forces.”

The Royal British Legion, Soldiers’, Sailors’, and Airmen’s Families Association (SSAFA) and RAF Witchford Museum were among the organisations who set up information stands and spoke to scores of local people and curious visitors, many of whom returned in the afternoon to watch the Freedom of the City ceremony. 

The Army Cadet Force and Air Training Corps marched behind their standards, flanking the Union Standard carried by the City of Ely Standard Bearer Tom Brown, from Palace Green to Cross Green where the Mayor presented certificates to Lt Darryl Gardiner of the Ely detachment of the Army Cadet Force and Flt Lt John Donoghue, officer commanding the City of Ely Royal Air Force Cadets.

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The Mayor said: “The certificates state just why this Freedom has been bestowed: ‘For the long and valuable service the Corps and Cadet Force has rendered to the young people of Ely and district and their contribution to civic life. The Council recognises the dedication of all the officers, cadets and supporters and the value that the training, discipline and citizenship skills instilled give to the wider community and the nation’.”

The day ended with a Drumhead Service conducted by the Rev Alan Jessop, Cambridgeshire county RBL chaplain. Visitors had been entertained during the afternoon by Breckland Brass Band whose trumpeter played the Last Post before a two minute silence and accompanied cadets, invited guests and spectators as they sang the National Anthem which was a fitting end to an historic occasion.

Press release from Ely Branch Royal British Legion

  • June 25, 2023