A year long partnership between Middlesbrough Council and the Yorkshire Regiment has been launched to highlight the pride the town has in the regiment and raise funds for its charity arm.
The Yorkshire Regiment is the ‘local’ regiment for Middlesbrough and recruits heavily from the town and the Teesside area.
The 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, known for hundreds of years as the Green Howards, was formed in 1688 and has an illustrious and valiant history thanks in part to the bravery of its soldiers from Middlesbrough and the surrounding area.
The Green Howards became part of the Yorkshire Regiment in its current form in 2006 after a restructure of the infantry.
Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon decided to form the partnership after the success of the Yorkshire Regiment’s Freedom Parade in central Middlesbrough last year and after hearing how highly the regiment and the armed forces in general were regarded by local people.
The partnership will include the introduction of a ‘Heroes Welcome’ scheme which will enable local businesses to publicly show their support for all armed forces personnel.
It will also see money raised in the town for the Yorkshire Regiment Benevolent Fund.
The Fund supports soldiers and their families who are discharged from the army.
Every serving soldier in the Regiment makes a contribution towards the fund and over the last three years it has helped 1,000 ex-soldiers and granted more than £300,000.
Mayor Ray Mallon said: “The sacrifice made by our armed forces personnel cannot be underestimated.
“We owe them a huge debt of gratitude and as the elected Mayor of Middlesbrough I have decided to use this year to show to the Yorkshire Regiment how much we appreciate all that they do.
“The Yorkshire Regiment is known by many as the Green Howards and they have very strong ties to Middlesbrough and the wider Teesside area.
“Through this partnership we want to raise people’s awareness of who the Yorkshire Regiment are and raise funds for the Yorkshire Regiment Benevolent Fund which does invaluable work for former soldiers.
“I hope the people of Middlesbrough embrace this partnership and show their support to members of the regiment if they see them in the town over the coming year.”
Lieutenant Colonel David O’Kelly, Regimental Secretary for the Yorkshire Regiment, said: “The Yorkshire Regiment celebrates its 5th Anniversary in 2011 and I can think of no better way to do this than through a partnership with Middlesbrough and the wider Teesside area.
“It will be a really important year for us to help raise our profile, enhance our reputation and engage with the people of the Borough.
“The Regiment has historic links throughout this region and we are keen to maintain them; more than that however, it is essential for the future of the Regiment that we continue to attract young men into it.
“The Army has rarely been as busy as it is now and we need all the support we can get.
“I look forward to a successful and enjoyable year and am grateful for the opportunity that this presents.”
It is also hoped the partnership year will assist with recruitment by highlighting the benefits of joining the Yorkshire Regiment to local young people planning to join the army.
Last year Middlesbrough Council’s partnership charity was with Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research which celebrated its 50th year.
More than £15,000 was raised and hundreds of people and children got involved in activities.