Loved ones watch soldiers and officers of 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh receive leeks in St David’s Day honour
IT was a proud moment for the family, friends and colleagues of 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh as they watched their loved ones collect their leeks.
The soldiers and officers were honoured to celebrate St David's Day and to acknowledge several members of the battalion who have recently returned home from a tour in Afghanistan while attached to 1st Battalion.
Even the fact that the Queen, who had been due to present leeks to the soldiers, had been forced to cancel her visit due to ill health did not spoil the day for those present.
Around 400 guests were invited to the occasion including the family and friends of the soldiers.
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Private Wayne Guy, from Clase, was at the ceremony with his mum Christine. He said: "We are a bit disappointed the Queen did not come, but it is great to be here in Swansea as normally the parade is elsewhere. It has been a great day and it is nice to see everyone here together."
Christine added: "It has been a lovely day and I am very proud of him. I miss him terribly when he is away. It was a lovely parade."
Private Simon Watkins, from Llangyfelach, who works for Carmarthenshire Council's IT department, attended with his 13-year-old daughter Rhiannon.
"I have really enjoyed it," he said. "It was disappointing when we found out that the Queen would not be coming, but it has not spoilt the day."
Private Watkins, 42, said he returned from Afghanistan in October after five-and-a-half months on tour.
"It was quite an exciting tour," he said. "Where I was there was quite a lot of danger around. We were doing two to three patrols every day."
He said his family were really supportive and one day he received 11 parcels from them.
Rhiannon, who attends Bishop Vaughan School, said: "We were concentrating on sending him shoeboxes. Every time we went to the shop most of the stuff was for him."
She added: "I am really proud of him."
Private Adam Johnson, 23, from Llwynhendy in Llanelli was with his partner Katie Woodgate.
He also returned from Afghanistan in October.
"This has been a great event," he said. "It is the first time we have had our leeks in public, so it is a big event for us."