PLANS are in place to transform a military spectacle to try and make it one of the biggest in the North-East.

This year’s annual Remembrance parade in Durham will be the biggest event to date, with almost 600 serving members of the armed services expected to take part.

The City of Durham Freeman have donated £1,000, which will be used to give hospitality to visiting servicemen and women and it is hoped will mean a military band can attend.

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Retired firefighter Arthur Lockyear, who is organising the parade, said: “The Remembrance parade is something that should be important to everyone no matter where they are from or whatever their faith.

“With the support of the Freemen and other bodies we are hoping we can develop the parade in the best interests of the city and support of Remembrance.”

He added: "I have had the honour of assisting 'D' Rifles Company with preparations for the Durham City parade since 2014 and I hope it will fulfil its potential to become a great national occasion."

Mr Lockyear, who was awarded an MBE for his work on the Sunderland Remembrance Day parade, has been involved in the Durham event since 2014.

Eric Bulmer, chairman of the wardens of the freeman, said “We feel privileged to be able to offer tangible support to this year’s parade. We know the act of remembrance still means a great deal to very many local families. People remain extremely proud of the history and heritage of the Durham Light Infantry and their successors which engenders the total respect of the citizens of Durham.”

Last year’s parade included Royal Dragoon Guards, Foot Guards, Parachute Regiment, Light Dragoons, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Royal Military Police and RAF Leeming and fire service standard bearers from across the country.

Durham Cathedral will be hosting its festival of Remembrance on the eve of the parade, which takes place on Sunday, November 12.

Mr Lockyear added: “Representatives from various units supporting the parade and standard bearers from the fire and rescue service will be attending and both events should be outstanding.”