Homecoming parades for Midlands soldiers

Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment are to celebrate their return from Afghanistan with a week of homecoming events.

A series of parades are being held - with a thanksgiving and memorial service at Lichfield Cathedral on Monday 28th November.

Private Gareth BellinghamAt the forefront of everyone's thoughts during these events will be Private Gareth Bellingham from Staffordshire. He is the only fatality suffered by the Battalion during the tour and was killed in action on June 18th in Helmand Province, at the age of 22.

Assistant Regimental Secretary Major (retired) Jim Massey said:

'The families throughout the Midlands and across the Mercian Regiment recruiting area will be celebrating the safe return of the soldiers. Mercian soldiers have made a real difference to security in Helmand and Afghanistan as a whole during the tour, training the Afghan National Army, Providing security to various parts of Helmand and supporting ordinary Afghans as they try to live their lives.'

As well as an event at Lichfield Cathedral on Monday 28th November there are also parades in Tamworth, Burton, Wolverhampton and Walsall during the week:

Stoke-on-Trent                     Saturday 26th November

Stafford                                  Sunday 27th November

Lichfield                                 Monday 28th November

Tamworth                               Tuesday 29th November

Burton-upon-Trent               Tuesday 29th November

Wolverhampton                    Wednesday 30th November

Walsall                                    Thursday 1st December