Swindon is celebrating Armed Forces Day – 27 June – with a week of event which will involve veterans, supporters of servicemen and families alike, and there's a chance to meet Anne Snelgrove MP at Greendown Community School. Right, 22 June parade at the civic offices to raise the specially commissioned flag. Photo:Martin Hodgeson
Saturday 27 June has been set aside for this annual national event, which recognises the work of all of the UK’s Armed Forces past and present, but Swindon has decided to hold a week of events, supported by inSwindon, the town centre Business Improvement District company.
The day itself will see a Family Funday in Swindon town centre and at Faringdon Road Park, but the week will include ceremonies, a parade, a gala dinner and even a special commemorative beer made by local brewers Arkell’s.
Simon Jackson, chief executive of inSwindon, said: “We are delighted to do our bit to support this great annual celebration. People in the Swindon area have shown themselves to be very supportive of our Armed Forces and the work they do, and of course many people here have friends or family who are in the forces at the moment, so we are confident they are going to help us make it an Armed Forces Day to remember.”
The main events:
Monday, June 22: Fly a Flag for our Armed Forces. The ceremony to officially begin the celebrations with the raising of a specially commissioned flag at the Civic Offices, right. Photo: Phil Clements, 1st Lieutenant, Swindon Sea Cadets.
Below, former Royal Military Policeman and Swindon town crier in civvies, Fred Ferris, at the unveiling of the Veteran's Day flag on 22 June
Wednesday, June 24: Retailer Veterans Badge Ceremony. Veterans working in the retail industry in Swindon are being invited to a ceremony in which they will be presented with a badge by the Mayor of Swindon, at Wharf Green, at 11am.
Friday, June 26: Gala Dinner. With guest speaker Chris Moon MBE at Menzies Hotel, Fleming Way, Swindon, including a charity auction in aid of Help for Heroes.
Saturday, June 27: Family Fun Day (11am-5pm). A full day of activities in Swindon town centre and at Faringdon Road Park, including a motorcycle display team and birds of prey demonstrations, stalls, human table football, fairground rides, an assault course and a Volunteer Cadet Corps field gun run competition. Wharf Green in the town centre will host an assault course and climbing wall, whilst The Parade will feature a giant spaceball. Admission to all of Saturday’s activities is free, however charges will apply for fairground rides.
Sunday June 28: A parade from Granville Street and along Commercial Road to Wharf Green, featuring The Waterloo Band of Rifles, a male choir, bugler and piper. Parades forms at 2.30pm for a service and prayers at 3pm.
Tea with South Swindon MP
Anne Snelgrove MP and students will be marking Veterans Day this year with Afternoon Tea on Friday 26th June 2009 from 2pm to 4pm at Greendown Community School.
Anne said, “Veterans Day and Armed Forces Day are fantastic opportunities for us to remember the extraordinary contribution ex-servicemen and women have made for this country and the dedication current servicemen and women are showing. In previous years students that have come along to these events have left with a real insight into what it is like on the frontline and the experiences of conflict.”
Vicki Lewis, Head of History at Greeendown said, “Previously when we hosted Veterans Day the pupils came away with amazing insight into people’s lives. It gave pupils the opportunity to meet and discuss veteran’s experiences and come away with a real understanding of the work they have done in serving our country.
"We also welcome other members of the community who may have personal experiences which could contribute to the discussions. We look forward to meeting as many ex-servicemen and women on this very special event.”
All ex-servicemen and women, current servicemen and women and anyone who is interested are welcome to attend. Please contact Matt Rhodes on 01793 615465 for more details and to confirm attendance.