The Freedom of East Lothian has been granted to the county’s historic regiment, the Lothians and Border Yeomanry, in a special presentation and parade held in Dunbar today (6 July).
The Lothians and Border Yeomanry’s links with East Lothian date back to 1797 with the formation of the East Lothian Yeomanry Cavalry. The Dunbar, Seton, Salton and Gifford troops eventually disbanded and joined with other areas before reforming in 2014 under its current name.
East Lothian Council’s Armed Forces Champion Councillor Jim Goodfellow conferred the Freedom of East Lothian to the Yeomanry, represented by Major Stuart Vine, in the shadow of Lauderdale House, the Regiment’s original home.
Following the presentation, the Regiment paraded along Dunbar’s High Street, saluting Councillor Goodfellow outside the Town Hall, before continuing on to its War Memorial on the town’s Queen’s Road for a rededication ceremony. Representatives from the council, serving and veteran members of the Armed Services community and their families, support organisations, and crowds of well-wishers witnessed the occasion.
Granting the Freedom of East Lothian to the regiment recognises the sacrifices and service made by its members over the years, and reinforces the council’s commitment to all armed services members living within the county.
East Lothian Council’s Armed Forces Champion Councillor Jim Goodfellow said: “Our commemorations in Dunbar today mark the Lothians and Border Yeomanry’s continued involvement in East Lothian and beyond. It’s right that we recognise the Regiment’s rich history and contribution to our county and it is very special for me to have been able to bestow upon them our county’s highest honour. I believe that the number of people who came along today reflects our deep gratitude to them, and to members of the Armed Services everywhere.”
Major SJ Vine, Squadron Leader, E (Lothians and Border Yeomanry) Squadron, The Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry, said:
“E (The Lothians & Border Yeomanry) Squadron are truly honoured to be granted the Freedom of East Lothian. The day marks the reinvigoration of the strong partnership between the community and the Squadron from which many of those serving, have served or represented through our long history and antecedent Regiments live and work - we are grateful for the enduring support. It is significant and fitting that we are able to parade through Dunbar and also rededicate the War Memorial in what is our spiritual home. A truly proud and memorable day and one which reconnects the 'County's Regiment' with the community whom we serve.”
The presentation and parade were part of a day of celebration of the Regiment and Armed Services held in the town. A civic reception was held at the Town House for the Yeomanry and its supporters where a framed ‘Freedom of East Lothian’ certificate was presented. The British Legion hosted a family event at their club for 100 people while Dunbar Museum hosted a special one-day exhibition of the Yeomanry’s military treasures.