THERE will be up to 100 soldiers on parade when Bridport hosts the Freedom March by the Rifles on Sunday, June 22.

Bridport is the only town in the south the Rifles will march in this year.

The military parade will begin at 11am from the West Street coach park and be welcomed by the mayor in front of the town hall.

The parade, which will mean a road closure, will go to East Street and turn by Barrack Street and the salute taken at the town hall on the way back.

The soldiers will then be joined by civic guests and local groups as is done on the Remembrance Day parade. The contingent will then march to St Mary’s for the mid-day church service. After the service will be the sounding of the Retreat outside the town hall.

There will then be receptions at the town hall and Bridport Arts Centre.

The town council has allocated £1,500 for its events budget. The Rifles have agreed to pay 50 per cent of the overall costs.

The regiment was honoured with the freedom of Bridport in 2011 but operational commitments in Afghanistan meant they could not attend the ceremony themselves. Even so the crowds were packed six deep in places as Mayor Geoff Ackerman handed over a scroll to Brigadier Richard Toomey, the deputy colonel commandant of The Rifles.

Former Rifleman Coun Geoffrey Ackerman said it had been a pleasure and honour to give the regiment the freedom of the town on behalf of the people of Bridport.

And now the Rifles are fulfilling their promise to come to the town for a full parade.

Councillors said they were delighted the regiment would finally come.