Freedom of the Borough
The Freedom of the Borough is the highest honour that the Council can bestow. It is awarded to 'persons of distinction' and persons who have, in the opinion of the Council, rendered eminent services to the Borough'.
Melton Borough Council has powers under the Local Government Act 1972, S.249(5)(7) to "admit to be honorary freemen of the borough, persons of distinction and persons who have in the opinion of the council, rendered eminent services to the Borough". The same powers are used to grant 'Freedom of Entry to the Borough' to military organisations.
Once the honour is awarded, the military organisation has the right to march through the streets of the Borough on all ceremonial occasions with colours flying, drums beating and bayonets fixed and may return every three or four years to exercise this right again.
The Council has conferred the honour on two military organisations which have strong connections with the Borough, being the Royal Army Veterinary Corps )now the Defence Animal Centre) in 1977 and HMS Quorn in 2006.
Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC)
The Council granted Freedom of Entry to the Borough to the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC) on 29 September 1977. The RAVC is now known as the Defence Animal Centre (DAC).
The Defence Animal Centre (DAC) is set in the heart of the English countryside, surrounded by stunning scenery and is situated close to the bustling town of Melton Mowbray.
The DAC prides itself on its reputation as the military's leading canine and equine training centre in the UK and is recognised around the world as a leading professional training establishment. The DAC provides year round training for individuals who will maintain and handle working animals. Training alongside military handlers, courses are available to those handling operational working dogs.
The DAC ensures that all working dogs are trained to exacting standards and requirements prior to active duty.
The DAC has exercised its right to march through the streets of the Borough on four occasions since the honour was awarded, these being in 1987, 1997, 2007 and 2014.
The Council granted Freedom of Entry to the Borough to HMS Quorn on 25 October 2006 in recognition of the distinguished and notable service of the ship in keeping UK waters safe, saving British lives abroad, its 20 continuous years association with the Borough of Melton and the Council wishing to perpetuate and strengthen the bond of friendship for future years. The ceremonial event when the award was presented was held on 18 March 2007 and this involved the Ship's company marching through the streets of the Borough with colours flying, drums beating and bayonets fixed. The Ship's Company exercised their right to march again on Wednesday 1 June 2016.
HMS Quorn represents the cutting edge of mine countermeasures capability. She uses her powerful sonar, underwater mine disposal system and mine clearance divers to locate and destroy mines. Built by Vosper Thornycroft Shipbuilders Ltd. at Woolston, Southampton and launched on 23 January 1988, HMS Quorn was commissioned into the Royal Navy one year later. With a ship's company of 44 and weighing 685 tonnes, HMS Quorn is part of the Royal Navy's Second Mine Countermeasures Squadron (MCM2) based in Portsmouth.
The Royal Navy's minehunters are deployed around the UK and all over the world keeping the sea lanes clear, whether from historic mines or future threats.
There are established links in Leicestershire with the Quorn Hunt (after which the ship is named), Quorn village as well as the Borough of Melton.