County soldiers mark the Diamond Jubilee in Cyprus

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The 2nd Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment held a ceremonial parade today with drums beating and colours flying to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee while stationed in Dhekelia Garrison, Cyprus.

The battalion, nicknamed “The Poachers” and who recruit from Northamptonshire, marked the occasion by awarding 299 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medals to their officers, non-commissioned soldiers and enlisted men in an hour-long ceremony attended by their friends, families and neighbouring units.

Lieutenant Colonel Nigel Johnson said: “The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal is awarded to those service personnel who on the day of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee have completed five or more years of service.

“It is a prestigious award that personally recognises an individual’s commitment and dedication to Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.”

Corporal Dean Tofton, 27, from Lincolnshire, was allowed to take the day off from guarding the British Sovereign Base Areas on the island to take part in the parade.

He said: “I enlisted in 2006 so I am very proud to have been able to take part in this parade and receive my medal.”

The battalion will enjoy a long weekend to mark the occasion of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee which will also be their last opportunity to celebrate as part of Dhekelia Garrison.

The soldiers and families will be able to enjoy a party at the beach and play a series of beach sports including a volleyball and football competitions before continuing their tour of duty across the island.

The Poachers will return to the UK in August this year when they will move into Kendrew Barracks in Rutland.