Crowds line streets in Leicester to honour troops as part of Armed Forces Day
More than 1,000 people lined the streets on Saturday to honour servicemen and women as part of Armed Forces Day celebrations.
Crowds gathered and applauded as hundreds of serving and veteran soldiers, sailors and air force personnel marched through the city centre at noon, after a service at Leicester Cathedral.
The event launched a series of celebrations in the run-up to Armed Forces Day on Saturday.
Jake Wright, from Shepshed, said knowing there was so much support at home made it easier when he was away in Germany, where he is serving with the 9th/12th Royal Lancers.
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Jake, 21, said: "It means a lot to know that people in our local town support what we are doing, and that when we are away from home, people here will be thinking of us."
The pipes and drums of the Seaforth Highlanders led the procession along High Street to the Clock Tower, snaking along Gallowtree Gate, where the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Jennifer, Lady Gretton, took the salute.
The highlanders were followed by regiments of cadets, serving soldiers and veterans.
Ken West, 89, from Thurmaston, served in France, Belgium and Holland with the Royal Scots Fusiliers, when he was in his 20s.
He said it was an honour to be applauded alongside serving and former soldiers.
He said: "It is nice to be recognised all these years later.
"Some time ago, there was a point where people would not dare admit they had been in the Army, but I think events like this show that things have changed. It is nice to stand alongside the serving soldiers – while we have lots of medals for only a relatively short service, some of them have served for years, and maybe only have one medal. It is nice that they are honoured, too."
Jamie Callaghan, 21, from Birstall, is serving in Germany with the 9th/12th Royal Lancers.
Lance Corporal Callaghan said he was surprised to see so many people cheering as the regiments passed.
"There really was quite a lot – I thought it might just be my family here."
The parade, one of hundreds across the country, was held to raise awareness of the past and continuing role of the military.
The Horobin family, from Braunstone, were in the crowd watching grandfather Bert, 88, who served all over the world with the Royal Anglians, carry the standard during the procession.
Son Martin, 44, said: "We are really proud of him."
Grandson James, 14, a cadet with the Royal Lancers, said: "It is really important to remember people who served in the past, and show that I respect what my grandad and others did."