HUNDREDS of soldiers are set for an emotional homecoming in Bury after completing their last tour of Afghanistan.
Servicemen and women from the 1st Battalion of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers flew out to Helmand Province in April to start their final stint in the country, where they have been operating since 2001.
Their six-month tour of duty will end shortly and soldiers are to take part in a homecoming parade on Tuesday, November 19 through Bury, which has a long, proud link with the regiment.
Earlier, they will take part in a similar procession through Rochdale town centre before marching through Bury in the afternoon.
It will be the first time the regiment has held a homecoming parade in Bury since November, 2009, when hundreds of wellwishers lined the streets.
Colonel Mike Glover, the area regimental secretary for Lancashire, said plans for the parade were in full swing.
Since the conflict began in 2001, 445 British servicemen and women have died in Afghanistan, including seven members of the regiment.
Col Glover added: “I am sure the loved ones of the soldiers who are coming home will be relieved that their time in Afghanistan has come to an end and they have returned home safely.
“They have given tremendous service and this is an opportunity for people to welcome home their husbands, sons and brothers and to acknowledge their efforts.
“We are looking forward to it and hope people will join us.”
Guests on the day will include Bury Mayor, Cllr Sharon Briggs, who told last week’s Full Council meeting: “The parade will start at 2.30pm from Wellington Road.
“This will be a wonderful occasion when the people of Bury can show their appreciation to the regiment.”
Road closures and traffic restrictions will be in place around the town centre on the day.