the Flying Tigers emblem

A Royal Navy helicopter squadron and a respected former councillor are to be granted Erewash’s highest honour – the Freedom of the Borough.

Town hall ceremonies to salute them will be held next month to coincide with Erewash Borough Council marking 50 years of existence.

It was in 1974 that a local government shake-up saw Ilkeston Municipal Borough Council merge with Long Eaton Urban District and South East Derbyshire Rural District Council.

Half a century on the authority has formed close links with 814 Naval Air Squadron – thanks to what is known as the Armed Forces Covenant. It is a solemn promise to support our brave boys and girls – plus their families.

The tie-up with the anti-submarine helicopter force – known as the Flying Tigers – is  despite the council being 70 miles from the sea.

The squadron, which comprises some 200 personnel, is based at Culdrose in Cornwall. It will be granted “the right, privilege, honour and distinction of marching through the streets of the Borough on all ceremonial occasions with colours flying, bands playing, drums beating and bayonets fixed”.

Also selected to receive the Freedom of the Borough is a former council leader who also served as mayor.

Popular ex-Erewash councillor Robert Parkinson is being honoured for devoting more than 50 years of service to the local area and its residents.

Both ceremonies will take place on 16 May at Long Eaton Town Hall. Official scrolls will be presented.

Other events to mark the council’s golden anniversary include a programme of activities at the Erewash Museum in Ilkeston.