Stepping out at the Tower to celebrate Armed Forces Week

Ann Petty takes to the floor with Sgt Mark 'Casper' Grainger at the Tower Ballroom tea dance
Ann Petty takes to the floor with Sgt Mark 'Casper' Grainger at the Tower Ballroom tea dance
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Hundreds stepped out at Blackpool's historic Tower Ballroom for an Armed Forces Week tea dance.

The event, to the much-loved accompaniment of the Mighty Wurlitzer organ, has been among the highlights of a busy week of features which will culminate this weekend with a full day of entertainment in Stanley Park followed by a Sunday morning service and parade at the war memorial opposite Talbot Square.

A couple enjoys dancing at the historic ballroom

A couple enjoys dancing at the historic ballroom

The dance included Blackpool Standards marching to welcome Blackpool mayor Coun Amy Cross, who was accompanied by armed forces personnel .

Stephanie Evans of Visit Blackpool said: "It was a wonderful day at the Tower for what was a key feature of a week packed with events to celebrate our armed forces."

The celebrations continue on Friday with a service of dedication at the Glade area of the Memorial Arbetoreum in Bispham hosted by Fylde Ex-Service Liaison Committee, starting at 11am and attended by the mayors of Fylde and Wyre as well as Blackpool.

An Armed Forces Week gala dinner follows tonight at the Norbreck Castle Hotel, ahead of Saturday's festivities at Stanley Park, which are a new feature this year.

The Tower Ballroom was packed for the Armed Forces Week tea dance

The Tower Ballroom was packed for the Armed Forces Week tea dance

The fun there runs from 10am to 4pm and features will include a display of vintage and modern day military vehicles in the Italian Gardens, a Royal Navy Wildcat Helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron with ground crew on hand to answer any questions and local military cadet forces battling it out for the Armed Forces Week trophy in a series of challenges led by the Royal Air Force.

There will also be musical entertainment at the bandstand from the 4th Battalion Duke of Lancaster’s Band, while an Armed Forces Day Military Concert featuring the Band and Drum Corps of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (Lancashire) will follow at the Norbreck Castle from 7.30pm.

Sunday morning's service at the war memorial and parade along the Promenade will be attended by veteran’s associations, cadets, serving military as well as their friends, families and associates and everyone is welcome, with assembly from 10.30am'

The annual Blackpool Taxi Pull will follow, along with a barbecue at the Guards Club for serving personnel and veterans

Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn, said: “Armed Forces Week is Blackpool’s opportunity to say thank you to our heroes.

"Since 2006, we have been celebrating the event annually, and it gets bigger and better each year, now forming an integral part of Visit Blackpool’s events calendar.

“We invite visitors and residents alike to join in the celebrations.”