ARMY medics from a York-based unit may be given the honour of the Freedom Of Entry To The City.

A special meeting is being held on Thursday when City of York councillors will be asked to consider bestowing the honour on 34 Field Hospital, which is normally based at Queen Elizabeth Barracks, Strensall, but has completed several tours running field hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Council leader James Alexander called the meeting to present the honour - a proposal seconded by Coun Ian Gillies.

Coun Gillies said: “York has a long tradition of links with the military and we are indebted to 34 Field Hospital for the work they are doing in Afghanistan and Iran. “They are part of the city’s fabric, and it’s only right we accord them this honour.”

Military organisations granted freedom of the city are allowed the privilege to march into the city with drums beating and colours flying. It is a tradition which dates back to Ancient Rome.

In modern times, the honour is more symbolic, and is often recognised with a parade through the city.

Earlier this year, 14 Second World War veterans who took part in the Normandy Landings were also granted the honour. In September, the crew of HMS York paraded through the city after they too were granted the honour, to mark the decommissioning of the 5,200-tonne Type 42 Destroyer.

Members of the regiment will be issued with the freedom scroll by the Lord Mayor of York, Coun Keith Hyman, who is likely to inspect and preside over the parade, which will take place next year, on a date to be confirmed.

Coun Gillies said: “RAF Linton-on-Ouse, HMS York, and I think the Signal regiment at Imphal have freedom to enter the city, it’s only right that 34 Field Hosital should have it.

“They are on the front line, providing medical help in the theatre and I think it’s natural for us to confirm that honour.

“It’s a good thing to do, and I am delighted to be able to do so.”

Coun Alexander, Labour leader of City of York Council said: “I am pleased to be moving that the city grants the 34th Field Hospital the Freedom of Entry to the City, for their support during the floods of 2000 and the many other occasions in which they have stood ready to step in to support this city since, both in times of need and celebration.”

“The events of the past few weeks are a timely reminder of just how valuable this support is."