10/10/2011

Robinson Welcomes Homecoming Troops

There have been double celebrations over the weekend as hundreds lined the streets to honour soldiers who have just returned from a difficult tour of duty in Afghanistan.

After a special 'Beating the Retreat' event was held in Belfast's King's Hall Complex on Friday, Sunday saw dignitaries including the Irish Guards Commanding Officer Lt Col Christopher Ghika pay tribute to the three Royal Irish Regiment soldiers who died during the last tour and those who had been injured.

Stormont First Minister Peter Robinson joined Castlereagh Mayor Jim White, East Belfast MP Naomi Long and others for a special service for the soldiers.
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The Guards received a specially minted medallion presented by Mr Robinson, Mr White and Lord Lieutenant of Co Down David Lindsay as the pipes of the Irish Guards paraded.

The day before, Newtownards town centre was packed on Saturday morning in another show of appreciation for troops returning from Afghanistan.

Around 150 members of the Irish Guards and the band of the 1st Battalion took part in the homecoming parade following a service in St Mark’s Church.

The soldiers received a rousing ovation as they took the salute from the Lord Lieutenant of Co Down in front of Conway Square.

Both parades and thanksgiving services came after Friday's military display at Balmoral in Belfast involving both the Guards and the Royal Irish Regiment.

(BMcC)

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