Page last updated at 15:33 GMT, Saturday, 12 July 2008 16:33 UK

Honour for 102-year-old veteran

Lieutenant Colonel Frank Saunders
Lt Col Frank Saunders was being given the freedom of the city

A 102-year-old war veteran has been honoured during a weekend of celebrations in Stirling to pay tribute to the armed forces.

Former servicemen and women from across Scotland joined current personnel for Stirling's Veterans Celebrations.

As part of the events Lt Col Frank Saunders, 102, was awarded the freedom of the city.

The parade through the city featured pipes, drums, parachutists, up to 1,000 veterans and a Tornado flypast.

The former personnel were also being given veterans badges and, on Sunday, a service of thanksgiving will be held.

Performances of the Pipers' Trail - a mix of theatre, pipes and drums - will be put on throughout the weekend, along with various military displays, a battle re-enactment and a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter.

It is important that we as a nation, never forget what they did yesterday for us to enjoy today
Lt Col Doug Wren
On Friday and Saturday, two WWII searchlights were being turned on at the Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle to form a Saltire over the city.

Defence Secretary Des Browne attended Saturday's parade along with Lt Col Saunders.

The 102-year-old told BBC Scotland he was humbled to receive the freedom of the city.

He said: "It is a civic honour of great consequence and I value it tremendously and I am very pleased to have been awarded the freedom, I hope I'll be worthy of it."

Brigadier David Allfrey, commander 51(Scottish) Brigade said: "The veterans and their modern counterparts, the serving soldiers, represent the values to which we all aspire, those of courage, discipline, respect, integrity and selfless commitment and they should be a source of inspiration to us all.

"In a year which sees our soldiers committed across the globe, and in which we celebrate the centenary of the Territorial Army, veterans day commemorates the strong links between retired soldiers and the serving soldier to whom we all owe a great debt.

March in Stirling
Crowds of people turned out to see the parade through the city
"Scotland is very proud of its veterans and serving soldiers, both regular and TA, and this weekend recognises that it is a fine and honourable thing to be, and to have been, a Scottish soldier."

He added that it was the perfect occasion to bestow the freedom of the city on Lt Col Saunders, and he could not think of a more fitting person to receive the honour.

Lt Col Doug Wren RE, commanding officer, 71 Engineer Regiment, said: "It has been an honour to work with Stirling Council to bring together the celebrations for this weekend.

"It will mark the culmination of six months work to ensure that we not only recognise the very real sacrifice that our soldiers are making today, but also the sacrifices that our predecessors made over the years to preserve the freedoms that we enjoy today.

"The veterans badge, which is being presented this weekend, is worn with pride by our veterans, and it is important that we as a nation, never forget what they did yesterday for us to enjoy today."


SEE ALSO
Freedom of city for war veteran
02 Jul 08 |  Tayside and Central
Todd to kick off veteran festival
23 Jun 08 |  Tayside and Central
Veterans Day celebration unveiled
02 Jun 08 |  Tayside and Central

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