Thousands turn out to welcome troops at homecoming parade

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ARMY heroes received the warmest of Yorkshire welcomes as they marched through Leeds following a six-month tour of Afghanistan.

Thousands of people lined the streets to applaud troops from the 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment for the homecoming parade. They marched from Millennium Square to The Headrow and Briggate yesterday, with a March Past Salute at Leeds Civic Hall where a reception was being held in their honour and The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Ann Castle, welcomed them back to the city.

Captain Alex Nancolas, 30, lives in Rodley and has been in the Army for seven years.

“It was incredible to have such a warm welcome. There were about 6,000 people lining the road. It’s fantastic to feel the support of the city and it really says that people do care.

“You get sent letters and parcels while you are out there but to see people back home coming out of their offices to cheer for you is something else.”

He added:“When I walked through the door after six months of being in Afghanistan, my son George, who is two, was being read a bedtime story by my wife and shouted ‘Daddy’.

“My wife Hayley is pleased to have me back too.”

Corporal Shane Wilde, 28, of Bramley, who served in Kosovo, Iraq and Northern Ireland as well as Afghanistan, was welcomed back by family members, including his grandfather.

“My son Jimmy was two weeks old when I left for Afghanistan. He’s a good boy and he grew up a lot while I was away,” he said. “It’s good to come home and see him and the family and my daughter Ellie, who is six now.”

Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Ann Castle, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to see them all here.

“We are really proud of them in Leeds.”