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Freedom of the County Borough

MOD St Athan and all local service personnel of The Royal Air Force, Past and Present, are being granted the Freedom of the County Borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf at Ynysangharad War Memorial Park, Pontypridd, on Saturday, June 2.

A FREE public event, all are welcome to come along to show their support.

The MOD St Athan will also be exercising their right to parade through Pontypridd town centre – and the public are being encouraged to line the route to show their support to our troops.

The Conferment of the Freedom of the County Borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf is in recognition of the 80th anniversary of the opening of the RAF base at St Athan and also coincides with the 100th anniversary of the formation of The Royal Air Force and the centenary of the end of the First World War.

The Freedom of the County Borough is to honour all those servicemen and women from Rhondda Cynon Taf, past and present, who have served and continue to serve at MOD St Athan and the wider Royal Air Force, at home and overseas.

The Conferment of the County Borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf upon MOD St Athan and all local service personnel of The Royal Air Force, Past and Present, takes place at Ynysangharad War Memorial Park, Pontypridd, on Saturday, June 2, from 10.30am onwards.

Accepting the Freedom of the County Borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf, on behalf of MOD St Athan and The Royal Air Force will be Air Officer Wales, Air Commodore Dai Williams.

The Freedom of the County Borough ceremony will be followed by an Armed Forces Family Celebration event at Ynysangharad War Memorial Park until 5pm, offering something for all ages. More details on this to follow soon.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Deputy Mayor, Cllr Steve Powderhill, said:

“The Freedom of the County Borough has previously been granted to Armed Forces, including The Royal Welsh Regiment and The Welsh Guards.

“But this will be the first occasion The Royal Air Force, in particular MOD St Athan and all local service personnel Past and Present, have been recognised.

“The RAF, the world’s first independent air force, was created on April 1, 1918. It was formed during the First World War with the main purpose of defending the skies over Britain – something it continues to do to this day.

“It is therefore fitting this year that the Freedom of Rhondda Cynon Taf be conferred upon MOD St Athan and all those people associated with it, past and present.

“We hope the people of Rhondda Cynon Taf will come out and join us on this special day and we celebrate the work and commitment of all of our Armed Forces.”

MOD St Athan is home to the No4 School of Technical Training and was the first unit to form on the military base in September 1938. It has been in continuous use as a training school ever since.

With its motto ‘Knowledge Sustains,’ the unit badge was presented to the No4 School of Technical Training by King George VI in August 1944.

The Freedom of the County Borough is the highest accolade a Local Authority can bestow, and it is granted for outstanding service to, or achievement associated, with Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Such an honour is only ever presented to distinguished individuals and groups. Past recipients include the South Wales Miners; tenor Stuart Burrows; The Royal Welsh; The Welsh Guards; author and playwright, the late Elaine Morgan OBE; the late Bernard Baldwin MBE, founder of the world-famous Nos Galan Road Races; Mathew James, survivor of the Tunisia terror attack; former Wales, British and European boxer, the late David Dower MBE; Paralympic swimmer David Roberts CBE; and The Cory Band.