SKIPTON High Street is being prepared to welcome soldiers from the Yorkshire Regiment who will march through town at 11am today to take part in a parade to mark their award of Freedom of Craven.

The 5th Regiment Royal Artillery “The Yorkshire Gunners” has been awarded the Freedom of Craven and has planned an exciting day of family-friendly activities in Skipton to commemorate this historic moment.

Members of the public are being encouraged to line the route of the parade to give the soldiers the very warm welcome they truly deserve.

Craven schools are also encouraged to participate in this momentous and fun-filled occasion by encouraging pupils to line the route and cheering on the marching troops.

Craven District Council’s member champion for Armed Forces, Cllr David Ireton, will be among the first people who greets the soldiers when they arrive.

He said: “The Freedom Parades are such spectacular events. It is a fantastic opportunity and honour for us all to show our support and appreciation to the young men and women who do a very dangerous, but vital job and put their lives at risk in service of their country.”

A spokesman for the Yorkshire Regiment said: “This parade is a celebration of the rich heritage of the town, the regiment, and those in the local area. It serves to strengthen the bonds between us all. The regiment is looking forward to bringing its mission and capabilities to the attention of the community by hosting stands, exhibiting the kit and equipment of the British Army’s sole weapon locating regiment. We are immensely proud to be a part of the vibrant Skipton community as the Yorkshire Gunners. We look forward to celebrating this special occasion and sharing our story, day-to-day life, and traditions with all in attendance.”

In 2019 Craven District councillors approved proposals to grant Freedom of the District to the 5th Regiment Royal Artillery. The Yorkshire Gunners have been based in North Yorkshire since the mid-1990s and recruits almost 80 per cent of its soldiers from Yorkshire.

A spokesman for the Skipton branch of the Royal British Legion, added: “We are very proud and honoured to have formed a lasting friendship with 5 Regiment Royal Artillery. We hope that the whole of Skipton and Craven will enjoy the efforts of all concerned that have made the Freedom Parade come to fruition.”

The parade will begin at 11am from the Skipton Town Hall car park and will go around the centre of the town and end on the High Street. Immediately after the parade, which is expected to last around 30 minutes, there will be an awards ceremony outside Skipton Town Hall, followed by a host of activities and displays, entertainment and cookery demonstrations in the High Street until 3pm, plus lots of opportunities to meet the troops and find out all about the Yorkshire Regiment.

There will be a number of rolling road closures in place in Skipton while the parade takes place.

Between 10-45am and 12-15pm, a rolling road closure will be in place along Bunkers Hill, Newmarket Street, High Street, The Bailey from the junction with Rectory Lane to the High Street, Mill Bridge to the junction with Water Street, Swadford Street to Coach Street junction, Coach Street and Water Street.

Please also note, there will be a half High Street closure between 11am and 3-30pm from the north roundabout to halfway down the High Street at the junction with Otley Street.

Access to both roundabouts is set to remain open during this time and access to Otley Street will be open, however, Jerry Croft will be closed to traffic.

Motorists should expect delays in the town centre on this day, particularly between 10-30am and 12-30pm and are advised to find an alternative route if possible.