Dorking Packed with well-wishers at Headley Court's Farewell Parade
Dorking's streets were packed last Friday as crowds of well-wishers lined the pavements awash with red, white and blue flags. Music, cheering and great excitement filled the town as residents and business alike showed their support for Headley's personnel as they marched through the High Street.
Headley Court's parade was a fitting celebratory 'farewell' to the District before the facility moves to its new home in the East Midlands in 2018. It was pre-ceded by a private church service at St Martin's Church, Dorking to give thanks to the military and civilian staff working at the Defence Military Rehabilitation Centre.
The Countess of Wessex was in attendance throughout and took the salute from the armed forces, including representatives from the Army, Navy and Air Force in the middle of Dorking's High Street.
The parade was led by the prestigious Band of the Household Cavalry in their full ceremonial gold uniforms. Over 200 participants marched, including DMRC Military, DMRC Civilians, Association Members and Cadets.
The parade ended outside Mole Valley's civic offices where the Royal Standard was raised, followed by the playing of the National Anthem. The event ended with a front line inspection of the assembled Troops by The Countess of Wessex, Group Captain, Lord Lieutenant, High Sheriff, Chairman of Mole Valley District Council and the Chairman of Surrey County Council. Invited guests then attended a short reception within Dorking Halls.
Councillor Vivienne Michael, Leader of Mole Valley District Council said, "We are very proud of the close partnership we have maintained throughout Headley Court's time in Mole Valley, including awarding them the Freedom of the District in 2010, and wish them well in their new facilities in the East Midlands.
"It is wonderful to see so many supporters come out on a Friday afternoon to recognise the contribution that Headley Court and our armed forces make to our national life. I'm sure that this important, celebratory event will be remembered by many for years to come. Thank you to everyone who has attended."
Councillor Simon Ling, Chairman of Mole Valley District Council said, "Whilst we are sad to say goodbye to all the staff and personnel from Headley Court, we celebrate their time with us and wish them well in the move to their new, purpose-built new facility."
Commanding Officer in Chief of DMRC Headley Court Teresa Griffiths said, "The closure of Headley Court signifies the end of a unique chapter in the history of Surrey.
"Today is a day of thanksgiving when we celebrate the special relationship that has developed and flourished over the decades between the Unit and Mole Valley. The Unit will forever be indebted to the people of Mole Valley for the friendship, support and love shown to Headley Court through some very difficult and challenging times.
"We hope that despite the distance of our new home that you will continue to support our endeavours in caring for the injured soldiers, sailors and airmen that will always find themselves in need of our care. We now look to the future as you hand over the baton of responsibility to Rushcliffe Borough Council and the people of the East Midlands."