The Freedom of the Borough Parade for the military Joint Hospital Group (South East) took place on Sunday 12 September in Camberley town centre.
The parade celebrated and thanked the Joint Hospital Group (South East) for their incredible service throughout the COVID pandemic. The unit comprises of military nurses, doctors, allied health professionals and medics many of whom are placed within Frimley Park Hospital and work alongside NHS staff providing outstanding care to patients.
At its Annual Council meeting in May, Surrey Heath Borough Council approved a formal motion that given the longstanding links between the Borough, the Ministry of Defence and Frimley Park Hospital, and in recognition of the extraordinary service provided during the pandemic, the Freedom of the Borough be conferred on all ranks of the Joint Hospital Group (South East).
Hundreds of people lined the streets to watch the Joint Hospital Group (South East) exercise their right to the Freedom of the Borough. The parade was led by the Army Medical Services Band, followed by Joint Hospital Group (South East) with representation from the Frimley and Camberley Cadet Corps at the rear.
The parade set off from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) entrance on the London Road and included Park Street, Pembroke Broadway, and Knoll Road, where it halted and was reviewed by The Worshipful Mayor of the Borough of Surrey Heath, Cllr Sarah Jane Croke; the military VIP, Director Medical Personnel & Training Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) Clare Walton QHP and Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey, Brigadier Paul Evans OBE.
The parade then marched again, turning into St George’s Road and down the High Street before turning into Knoll Road for a second time. On the second pass of Surrey Heath House the unit offered a salute to AVM Clare Walton before marching back to the gates of RMAS.
Air Vice-Marshal Clare Walton QHP - Director Medical Personnel & Training said;
“What an amazing day to be part of. I felt so proud today to take the salute at such a prestigious event. The sun shone, the Army Medical Services Band and Joint Hospital Group South East were resplendent. We are so grateful to Surrey Heath Borough Council and the whole community of Surrey Heath for bestowing this incredible honour on Joint Hospital Group South East and that so many turned out to show their very kind support and gratitude.”
Lieutenant Colonel Tessa Grieves, Commanding Officer, Joint Hospital Group (South East) said:
"Such a huge honour to be awarded the Freedom of the Borough and as Commanding Officer I am so immensely proud of my Unit and all my incredible personnel. I feel very privileged to be part of a such a fantastic parade and see both JHG (SE) personnel and our NHS colleagues thanked and recognised for all their continuing, exceptional work but particularly through a very intense period during the Covid pandemic and would like to extend a sincere thank you to Surrey Heath Borough Council for offering us the award.”