SOLDIERS are to march through Thatcham later this year.
The Royal School of Military Survey (RSMS) will exercise its freedom of the town, which allows it to march on all ceremonial occasions with “colours flying, bands playing, drums beating and bayonets fixed”.
Thatcham Town Council bestowed the military unit the honour in 2011 in recognition, nationally and internationally, of the contribution that the military school has made to the education and training of defence personnel and the close relationship that has existed between it, the Corps of Royal Engineers at Denison Barracks and the residents of Thatcham for more than 65 years.
The honour also means that the military school can hold a parade every five years and Thursday, July 7, has been set aside for the ceremony.
The RSMS has booked the Band of the Corps of Royal Engineers and has offered to provide equipment for the event.
The town council would be responsible for organising the road closure, at a cost of £2,380, and crowd management.
The total cost for the event comes to almost £3,000.
Speaking at a meeting last week Steve Ardargh Walter (Con, Thatcham West) asked whether it would be usual for the military to cover more of the cost. However, he then countered that by saying it would be churlish to ask them to contribute more than themselves and equipment to an event they had been invited to.
“It would be like being invited out to dinner and then being asked to pay for it,” town council leader Richard Crumly (Con, Thatcham Central) replied.
The town mayor, Sheila Ellison (Con, Thatcham North), said that the military school had wanted the event and to have closer ties with Thatcham.
“I think we should be proud really,” she said.