Forces honoured in champion town

Pictures Martin Bostock Armed Forces week service of remembrance at the Cenotaph on Blackpool Promenade.
Pictures Martin Bostock Armed Forces week service of remembrance at the Cenotaph on Blackpool Promenade.
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BLACKPOOL is gearing up for this year’s Armed Forces Week which will see thousands of service personnel and veterans welcomed into the resort

The town is hosting its sixth annual celebration of the services with events ranging from a gala dinner to a service of dedication at the Fylde Memorial Arboretum in Moor Park Avenue, Bispham.

It is estimated around 40,000 people will attend events around the town during the week from June 18 to 26, which has been organised by the council in partnership with the Fylde Ex-Service Liaison Committee (FESLC).

Tributes to the bravery of troops past and present will start with a flag raising ceremony at the town hall on Monday June 20 at 10.30am.

Other highlights include an illuminated tribute to the forces at Blackpool Cenotaph throughout the week, a wartime film showing at the Odeon Cinema for primary school children, a gala dinner at the Norbreck Castle, a gala night at Blackpool Tower Ballroom and various entertainment in social clubs across the town.

On Saturday June 25, which is national Armed Forces Day, concerts by bands including the Imperial Corps of Drums will be held in St John’s Square, while Stanley Park is the venue for an It’s A Knockout-style competition for cadets.

The programme will end with a service and parade at the cenotaph at 11am on Sunday June 26.

FESLC vice-chairman Major Jim Houldsworth said: “The whole objective of the week is about giving something back to our service people and veterans and over the week we are expecting about 40,000 people to attend the different events.

“Blackpool has become recognised as the champion for the armed forces in the North West and the whole of the UK. The week also generates a lot of income for the town.

“It also brings in reunions which take place throughout the year.”

For information, go to www.armedforcesday.co.uk