Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Sports centres free for soldiers in Derbyshire borough

Members of the Mercian Regiment and their families are to be given free access to sport and leisure centres in a Derbyshire borough.

Amber Valley Borough Council is to grant the Freedom of the Borough to the regiment at a ceremony later.

The regiment will exercise its new rights by holding a march through Ripley on 15 March.

Councillors said they decided to add on the free use of council leisure centres to show the forces they are "valued".

Council leader Stuart Bradford said: "We want to give a real meaning to the granting of the Freedom of the Borough, to honour the historic rights of the Freedom, which are no longer applicable, and to honour the nation's covenant with the armed forces to value, respect and reward them and their families.

"All sides of the council felt that we could best do this by granting to them the free use of council leisure centres."

The offer applies to active members of the armed forces who live in the borough, their partners and children.

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