Freedom Parade4 REGIMENT Royal Artillery exercises its Freedom of the City with a parade in Sunderland on Saturday 30 July.

The Regiment known as the ‘North East Gunners’ was granted this civic honour by the people of Sunderland in 1974 and exercises its right to march through the city centre at noon.

Several hundred members of the Regiment will be part of the parade.

Known as the ‘North East Gunners’ because more than two-thirds of recruits are drawn from across the region, it traditionally exercises its Freedom with a parade through the city centre.

Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Harry Trueman, who is also the city’s Armed Forces Champion, said: “I hope the people of our city and our region can join us to support the parade as we mark the close bond between 4 Regiment Royal Artillery and Sunderland.

“Our relationship goes back many, many years and I know how proud everyone is of the ‘Gunners’. It is always an honour to welcome 4 Regiment back to Sunderland as they are ‘our’ regiment.

“The parade is a great opportunity to celebrate and embrace this freedom tradition and to give all the ‘Gunners’ a warm welcome and reception.”

In recent years, 4 Regiment Royal Artillery has served in Macedonia, Northern Ireland, Iraq and on peace-keeping duties with the United Nations in Cyprus, as well as three tours of Afghanistan.

Gunners will march in Burdon Road, then Fawcett Street, High Street West, Union Street, into Market Square, Holmeside and turning right back into Burdon Road for a salute alongside the Burdon Road War Memorial.

Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Rob Alston MBE RA said: “We are deeply proud of our association with this region, and immensely proud to have been bestowed the honour of the Freedom of the City of Sunderland forty-two years ago.

“The Regiment has experienced many changes during those years but what has not changed is the quality of the young men and women who have joined the Regiment from the North East – many from Sunderland itself. They are the heart and soul of the Regiment.

“We exist only to serve you; we say thank you for your support by marching through the city, with a band playing, drums beating, carrying our rifles with bayonets fixed and in the presence of our colours – our guns, all of which have seen active service.”

Members of the regiment are also due at the Sunderland International Airshow on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 July.

The regiment is based in North Yorkshire and its last parade was in 2014 when it marked the 40th anniversary of its Freedom of Sunderland.