A dedicated week of celebrations to remember the sacrifices made by war heroes past and present has kicked off with a show of pride.
Over the coming days, Blackpool’s famous Promenade, theatres and hotels will all host concerts, special BBC broadcasts and a unique gala dinner to mark the work of soldiers, sailors and airmen – as veterans from all over the country take part in Armed Forces week.
The week began in traditional fashion with the official flag raising ceremony at Blackpool Town Hall in front of a crowd swelling with pride – including Mayor of Blackpool Coun Val Haynes, serving soldiers, veterans and supporters of the Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.
Coun Haynes said: “Armed Forces Week has become a very special part of Blackpool’s summer programme and I’m glad we can all be here to celebrate it, and remember those who gave their lives for our country.”
Ernie Howe, chairman of Blackpool’s Royal Signals Association, was stood to attention alongside other veterans as the flag began to flutter in the wind.
He said: “This week should never be forgotten because Blackpool has a strong affinity to the military, and a lot of effort goes into things like this.
“It’s an absolutely first class week, Friday night being the pinnacle with the Norbreck Hotel’s gala dinner.”
Lesley McCoy, from central Blackpool, turned up to show her support.
She added: “This is a great celebration.
“They fight for us and work really hard, and we should be proud of the people that lost their lives.”
Whole town supporting Armed Service events
Blackpool Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Coun Chris Ryan, says the whole town is getting behind the week’s events.
He said: “This is tremendous and we are looking forward to having a brilliant Armed Forces week.
“We have kids here, who were amazing, and we are trying to bring in a mix of groups because this is not just for serving soldiers, but for family and their communities.”