Communities show support for forces personnel past and present

The Armed Forces event in Christchurch Park.

The Armed Forces event in Christchurch Park. - Credit: Gregg Brown

People across Suffolk took part in events at the weekend to honour current and former servicemen and women and celebrate the vital role they play.

The Armed Forces event in Christchurch Park.

The Armed Forces event in Christchurch Park. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Armed Forces Day was a chance for the public to show its support for the forces community – from serving troops to service families, veterans and cadets.

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey said: “Our men and women in uniform do such a fantastic job for our country, and showing our support for them is a much valued morale boost for troops and their families.

“It is especially poignant during the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta that we celebrate the work of our armed forces who keep us and our liberties safe.”

Last week the country also marked Armed Forces Reserves Day, recognising the role of working people who offer their spare time to serve in the Reserve Forces, which now comprises around one-sixth of armed forces personnel.

Dr Coffey said: “Members of the Armed Forces Reserves are currently serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and are part of the UK’s efforts to counter Ebola in Sierra Leone.

“They make a valuable contribution and I’m delighted it is being recognised.

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“There are several MPs who are reservists and it was great to see three of them wearing their uniforms in Parliament.”

Over the weekend Armed Forces Day was marked by several events, including a huge family afternoon at Christchurch Park in Ipswich, organised by the Ipswich Royal British Legion, in conjunction with Ipswich Borough Council and IP-Art week.

The line-up of attractions included re-enactors, children activities, assault courses, climbing wall, drill displays and competitions, 1940s dance workshops, a steel band, the Ipswich Hospital Band, stalls, and a Mayoral procession, lighting of a beacon and fireworks.

Other events included a parade of military vehicles through Halesworth, plus activities at Holton, including static displays and re-enactors, with a 1940s Big Band dance in the evening to celebrate 70 years since VE day.

In Ipswich, residents of the Vinnicombe Court retirement housing scheme on Cambridge Drive held a charity event to raise funds for Blind Veterans UK which supports blind ex-servicemen.

They had stalls selling goods from kitchenware and gadgets to furnishings and books, plus refreshments, hotdogs and homemade cakes, as well as a tombola and raffle.