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Crew of HMS Kent to be given Freedom of the County

The crew of HMS Kent are to be granted the Freedom of the County at a special ceremony at Sessions House.

KCC chairman Cllr Gary Cooke will bestow the honour on the ship at a meeting of the county council in Maidstone on Thursday, September 21.

HMS Kent Picture: Royal Navy
HMS Kent Picture: Royal Navy

The following day, Friday, September 22, the ship’s crew will exercise their freedom by marching through the town from Maidstone Town Hall to County Hall via the High Street and Week Street, starting at noon.

It is hoped that Maidstone’s shoppers will give them a big cheer!

HMS Kent is one of the newest of the Royal Naval Type 23 frigates. Built by BAE Systems on the Clyde, she was launched on May 17, 1998, by Princess Alexandra of Kent.

With a top speed of 28 knots, she is crewed by 185 personnel under the command of Commander Jeremy Brettell.

She is based at Plymouth.

HMS Kent at Dover. Picture: Dover Strait Shipping
HMS Kent at Dover. Picture: Dover Strait Shipping
Retired naval officer Chris Passmore
Retired naval officer Chris Passmore

The newly elected County Councillor for the Maidstone Central Division, Chris Passmore, said he was pleased the ship was being so honoured.

He said: “As a Naval veteran myself, I am keen that the Royal Navy, which plays a crucial, but often under-recognised, part in the UK’s defence in an increasingly challenging global environment, is fully supported.

“Maidstone already has strong links with the Senior Service, with the Maidstone Royal Naval Association, the Maidstone Sea Cadets and Maidstone Grammar School CCF Royal Naval section.”

Cllr Passmore served in the Royal Navy for 10 years from 1978. He was Commander’s Assistant onboard HMS Glamorgan before becoming First Lieutenant of HMS Alfriston enforcing the Common Fisheries Policy around the shores of the UK.

He then served as Navigating Officer of HMS Scylla in the Gulf on Armilla Patrol. He left the Navy in 1988 as a Lieutenant.

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