THOUSANDS lined the streets of Uxbridge on Thursday to enjoy the Freedom of Hillingdon Parade, marking the centenary of the Royal Air Force.  

The parade was a spectacular celebration organised by Hillingdon Council and RAF Northolt to pay tribute to the borough's long and fruitful association with the Service, which at one point had nine Royal Air Force units stationed within its borders.

Personnel from RAF Northolt and the Central Band of the Royal Air Force marched down Uxbridge High Street, from Vine Street to the Civic Centre forecourt, where they were received by the Mayor, Cllr John Morgan, and the council leader, Cllr Ray Puddifoot.

Cllr Puddifoot said: "Over the past 100 years, Hillingdon has been home to nine different RAF establishments, including RAF Northolt and RAF Uxbridge, home of the Battle of Britain Bunker, which was at the very heart of the defence of this nation as the Battle of Britain was fought in the skies above us. 

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"We are proud of our long association with the RAF and its personnel, and their families are an integral part of our community. "

RAF Northolt’s Station Commander, Group Captain Mike Carver, said: “Though RAF Northolt is now the last remaining station within Hillingdon - within London - and the last remaining Battle of Britain fighter station, we continue to this day in that role of defending the UK and its people. 

“Since my first day as Station Commander, I have been overwhelmed by, and very grateful for, the huge level of support we receive from the local community.”