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Kingston flies the flag for Armed Forces with civic pledge

A declaration underlining the strong links between Kingston and the military has been signed in a ceremony to mark the start of Armed Forces Week.

The borough has strong connections with the armed forces. In 2009 the Territorial Army medics of 256 (City of London) Field Hospital (Volunteers) were given Freedom of Entry by Kingston Council, following in the footsteps of the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment which had the same freedom – the highest honour that a local authority can bestow on a military unit – conferred upon it previously.

The new Armed Forces Community Covenant was signed by Councillor Liz Green, Leader of Kingston Council, and Colonel Mike Kelly OBE, the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff for London.

Representatives of other community and military organisations also signed.

The signing followed a ceremony – attended by the Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Penny Shelton, Colonel Geoffrey Godbold, Representative Deputy Lieutenant for the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames and several council, community and military representatives - to raise the Armed Forces Day flag above Kingston’s Guildhall, where it will fly all week.

The covenant encourages local community support for service personnel in the borough and to promote public understanding and awareness of issues affecting the Armed Forces.

The covenant pledges civic support in areas such as work and training, housing, schools for service children and welfare, while for the Armed Forces the covenant encourages personnel and their families to do as much as they can to support the community and promote activity which integrates service and civilian life.

Councillor Liz Green, Leader of Kingston Council, said:

“Kingston is proud of its long association with the military, and we recognise the sacrifices and important contribution our Armed Services make.

“This Community Covenant underlines the borough’s respect for the armed forces and ensures that we will go on supporting and responding to the needs of the military community, including serving personnel and their families, veterans, reservists and cadets."

Colonel Mike Kelly OBE said:

“We want to be part of our local communities, and I really encourage local people to understand some of the extra sacrifices and challenges faced by Service families.

“I’m delighted that Kingston Council has agreed to become involved – it’ll mean we can support the local community with events and joint projects, and there’ll be more activities to bring the Service community into the life of the borough.”

Community covenants complement the national Armed Forces Covenant, which outlines the moral obligation between the nation, the government and the armed forces.

Armed Forces Day is Saturday 29 June: www.armedforcesday.org.uk