Poignant ceremony for Armed Forces

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A poignant flag-raising ceremony started a week-long line-up of events for Armed Forces Week in Blackpool.

The annual celebration to honour the nation’s armed forces personnel past and present has been running in Blackpool since 2006.

The start of Armed Forces Week at Blackpool Town Hall

The start of Armed Forces Week at Blackpool Town Hall

Coun Chris Ryan, Chairman of the Armed Forces Week Committee, said: “Armed Forces Week is back for 2016 and will be as fantastic as ever.

“It promises to be a real treat for visitors, local people, veterans and service personnel alike and I hope people will flock to Blackpool and salute and honour our veterans and service personnel.”

In partnership with Blackpool BID, Armed Forces Day itself, on Saturday, will see a replica Spitfire on display in St John’s Square along with ground crew on hand to answer questions.

With opportunities to learn about life in trenches, military bands performing Forces favourites and photo opportunities with Sergeant Major.

It promises to be a real treat for visitors, local people, veterans and service personnel alike and I hope people will flock to Blackpool and salute and honour our veterans and service personnel

And on the Promenade on the Tower Festival Headland, there will a display of military vehicles, an air display by the Royal Navy Black Cats Display Team (2pm), and a RAF Spitfire flypast (3.20pm) and much more.

The Armed Forces Day Military Concert takes place in the evening at the Norbreck Castle Hotel featuring the Band and Corps of Drums of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (Lancashire).

Last night, Music for Heroes was staged at the Opera House

Today sees an Armed Forces Careers Information Day at the Houndshill Centre and Viva Blackpool’s matinee show “We’ll Meet Again” produced by Blackpool showbiz legend Duggie Chapman MBE.

Tomorrow meanwhile, features an afternoon tea dance at The Blackpool Tower and a free evening of entertainment at Marton Institute.

From Tuesday to Thursday, schoolchildren will also be taking part in Armed Forces Week with the “Going to the Flicks” project, taking them from the classroom to the Odeon cinema, Blackpool, for a special war-time experience including films and talks from military personnel.

Friday features a Service of Dedication at the Fylde Memorial Arboretum while the evening sees what many veterans consider the highlight of the week, a grand gala dinner. And following Saturday’s Armed Forces Day celebrations, the week ends with the Sunday morning war memorial service and parade followed by the Blackpool Taxi Pull, an annual event which sees cabbies show off their strength to raise money for Armed Forces charities and finally the Submariners Sizzling BBQ at the Guards Club.

There’s more details on the events at www.armedforcesweek.co.uk.