Heads bowed with shining medals proudly on show, they gathered to remember a fallen hero.
Dozens of ex-servicemen and women met on Friday at the Fylde Memorial Arboretum for the annual Armed Forces Week service of dedication - which included the unveiling of a plaque inscribed with the name of 21-year-old Fusilier Sam Flint-Broughton, from Poulton, who was tragically killed in Afghanistan two months ago.
The service gave thanks to those who had paid the ultimate, untimely sacrifice in service to the country. Several of Fusilier Flint-Broughton’s relatives were in attendance.
Speaking to The Gazette after the service, his mother Karen Flint said: “The service was very emotional and it was beautiful. We miss him every day.” Father Dave Broughton added: “They’ve done such a great job here.”
The arboretum had been in a state of disrepair after council cuts meant park rangers were unable to maintain its upkeep.
Thankfully volunteers including the Blackpool Environmental Action Team, Supporting Our Brave, local councillors and Kirkham Prison’s community service stepped in to prepare the site, on Moor Park Avenue, in Bispham, in time for the service.
Children from Moor Park Primary School’s choir also performed at the service.
Organiser Ron Bell, chairman of Fylde Ex-Services Liaison Committee, said the service was “moving” and “magnificent”.
“As a service it was magnificent, there were some beautiful moments and seeing the children from Moor Park was fantastic.
“It was lovely to see the veterans here and it’s blown me away.
“The whole thing was very dignified and a wonderful occasion.”
George Hill, 75, from Highcroft Avenue, Bispham, who served in the RAF for 22 years, said: “It’s nice that people can get together and remember those who have died.”
Fusilier Flint-Broughton was serving with the The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment, in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province when the armoured Mastiff vehicle himself and two fellow soldiers were travelling in was hit by an improvised explosive device.