Bicester played host recently to the Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Munitions and Search (DEMS) Training Regiment, based at St Georges Barracks, when they were honoured with the Freedom of Entry and paraded through the town centre streets.
This decree is a town’s highest civic honour and means that the regiment can march through the town with swords drawn, baynets fixed, drums beating, band playing and colours flying.
Prior to the parade there was a service at St Edburg’s Church attended by the military, friends, families and residents.
The parade comprised 83 troops from the regiment led by 7 Rifles Waterloo Band and Bugles.
In Market Square the troops were inspected by Brigadier Matt Bazeley and Jason Slaymaker the Mayor of Bicester, the salute was taken and the regiment was presented with a scroll and a glass piece in recognition of the granting of the Freedom of Entry.
Then followed speeches by Jason Slaymaker and Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hallett before the Regiment continued with the parade into Garth Park where a garden party had been organised by Bicester Round Table and Bicester Ladies Circle.
A considerable amount of work went into ensuring that the Freedom of Entry parade was a memorable experience for the Regiment and the visitors and residents who lined the streets.
Q & A Interview with Jason Slaymaker
Jason Slaymaker was appointed in May as the Mayor of Bicester and at 27 is the youngest person ever to hold this post. Here we caught up with him and asked a few questions so you could get to know him better.
Where were you born and raised?
Oxford (JR) and raised in Bicester.
Were you involved in community activities in your youth?
Yes, Bicester Youth Council, Grassroots Bicester and Co-Founder of Bicester’s Big Lunch.
What are the duties of the Mayor?
Chair full council meetings, take the lead in civic events, and represent and actively promote Bicester. Support local community organisations and events.
Which local charities are you supporting as Mayor?
OYAP Trust, Alexandra House Joy, Nai’s House & Bicester Fire Cadets.
What do you wish to achieve during your term in office?
Support and provide a voice for the younger generation of Bicester including developing new youth led initiatives where possible. I would like to help our young people make a positive contribution to the future of our town and shape the place we live.
What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing Bicester?
Our biggest challenges are going to be expanded housing growth, integrating new developments and communities into the existing town and supporting local organisations and charities that provide a vital support network for residents of the town.
Where do you see Bicester in 10 or 20 years time?
Well geographically it’s not going anywhere but we should see around 10,000 houses and hopefully improved infrastructure and better access to green spaces.
Tell us about your typical working day…
Whats that? Every day is a completely different challenge and you never know what might happen next!
How do you relax?
Cycling & going to the gym!
Do you recall a memorable holiday?
New York & Washington DC.