Coldstream comforts Guardsman’s family

Parade of colours in Coldstream.
Parade of colours in Coldstream.

Coldstream’s annual Parade of Colours is a ceremony that brings huge comfort to the parents of a Coldstream Guard killed in Afghanistan.

But this year, the fourth Parade of Colours organised by Keith Cockburn as part of the Armed Forces Day services, was even more poignant for Kim and Michael Sweeney, from Blyth, Northumberland.

Unbeknown to the parents of 19-year-old Michael Sweeney the service also included the unveiling of a stone with a special plaque inscribed as a memorial to the soldiers lost during service in Afghanistan. “Since Michael was killed we have felt a connection with Coldstream,” said Kim.

That connection is stronger than ever now after Commanding Officer 6 SCOTS Lt. Col Sean Fitzpatrick and Colonel Vernon of the Coldstream Guards unveiled the ‘Operation Herrick Afghanistan’ stone which will be laid in Henderson Park, in the flowerbed where crosses and poppies have been placed by the families of the lost servicemen.

The inscription on the stone simply reads: ‘Operation Herrick, Afghanistan ‘Thank you never seems enough”.

When they arrived for this year’s parade Kim and Michael brought flowers to place at the Coldstream Guards stone in Henderson Park but instead laid them at the new stone which will for ever be a place of remembrance for them and have a special connection with Michael.

During the Parade of Colours ten Royal British Legion standards were carried, plus the burgh standard and representatives of the town’s 1513 Club, Burns Club, Scouts, Regimental Associations, Girl Guiding UK, Air Training Corps, Coldstream & District Community Council, Scottish Borders councillors, MSPs and ex-servicemen were led along Coldstream High Street by Berwick RBL Pipe Band.

Bringing up the rear, and making plenty of noise, were members of three motor cycle clubs - Royal British Legion Scotland Riders Branch, War Torn Troops Remembered MCC, The FC MCC (Men of War), all are veterans of HM Forces.

Berwickshire’s Lord Lieutenant, Major Alexander Trotter, Lt. Col, Sean Fitzpatrick and Col. Vernon of the Coldstream Guards took the salute at the war memorial.

A bike run to Swinton, Norham (to visit the grave of Piper Daniel Laidlaw VC), and Berwick also helped raise money for this year’s Parade of Colours chosen charity ‘Soldiers off the Streets’ which helps veterans who are living rough gain accomodation/housing.

Throughout the week the Armed Forces Day flag is flying on Scottish Borders Council buildings to pay homage to those who have given their lives in service.

An Armed Forces Day service takes place in Duns Parish Church on Sunday, June 30.