A TERRITORIAL Army unit that has the freedom of Spennymoor has strengthened its links with the town for possibly the last time.

D Company, The Rifles, based in Bishop Auckland, has formed close links with Spennymoor and it creates a guard of honour near to the Cenotaph on Armistice Day.

Spennymoor Town Council afforded the company, its closest Territorial Army (TA) unit, the freedom of the town two years ago.

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Members of the council met representatives from the TA this week to reinforce the links. A photograph of the company on Armistice Day was given to the military by the councillors.

There are fears over the future of Bishop Auckland TA as a Government shake-up means the unit could be moved from the town.

Major Andy Sutherland, officer commanding the TA team, said: “There’s a special relationship between us and Spennymoor.

“We have a reception night each year for the mayor of Spennymoor where he presents us with a photo to commemorate Armistice Sunday.

“Due to the changes under the restructuring plan it means that we might not have this kind of function in Bishop Auckland any longer which would be a shame.”

Councillor Jeff Daley, mayor of Spennymoor, and his consort Maureen Hirst were joined at the TA unit’s St Andrew’s Road barracks by fellow councillors and Bishop Auckland TA members.

Coun Daley said: “We’re very proud of our relationship with the company. They have always supported us and we were pleased to give them the freedom of the town.

“It’s still ongoing as to whether the transfer will take place but we’re thankful for their services.”