The Forces be with you

Armed forces and veterans dine for free at Coral Island for Armed Forces Week. Pictured are the 19th Regiment Royal Artillery The Highland Gunners Pipes & Drums.

Armed forces and veterans dine for free at Coral Island for Armed Forces Week. Pictured are the 19th Regiment Royal Artillery The Highland Gunners Pipes & Drums.

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GLIDING across the dancefloor, tucking into a carvery and listening to big bands – just a few ways Blackpool has paid thanks to its war heroes as part of Armed Forces and Veterans Week.

Hundreds of soldiers past and present flocked to the resort to see Blackpool salute their dedication and hard work.

Gary Bell, chairman of the Armed Forces Week steering group committee, said: “It’s all gone really well.

“The support, again, this year has been magnificent. It’s nice to see the support from so many local businesses.

“People have really been enjoying themselves.”

Around 360 veterans and their families were invited to a free carvery and drinks at Coral Island on the Promenade on Thursday.

Mark Fox, from Coral Island, said: “These are real heroes, and this is our thank you to them.

“Coral Island has been doing this for five years. It’s very humbling for us to do.

“The staff love doing it, and even come in to work if they’re supposed to be on holiday.

“It’s a great atmosphere.”

Earlier in the week, veterans showed off their fancy footwork as they waltzed around Blackpool Tower ballroom during an afternoon tea dance.

And there was more entertainment from the Music for Heroes concert in the Opera House, which starred Joe Longthorne and The Mike James Orchestra.

Mr Bell added: “There was rapturous applause for Joe Longthorne and the Mike James Orchestra was brilliant.

“It was a super night. People were up on their feet for Land of Hope and Glory and flags were flying in the air. Everyone had a great time.”