East Anglia: Crowds take to streets ahead of Armed Forces Day

PEOPLE from across Suffolk and Essex came out in force yesterday to show their support for the region’s servicemen and women.

The Armed Forces Day flag was flown in Colchester as the mayor paid tribute to the hard work done by 16 Air Assault Brigade.

A fanfare of trumpets from the Band of The Parachute Regiment sounded as the flag was raised to mark a week’s worth of activities before Armed Forces Day on Saturday.

Mayor of Colchester, Christopher Arnold, said: “Armed Forces Day is a national event to show support for the military community, which is something that Colchester has long done.

“This is our opportunity to acknowledge the central part that 16 Air Assault Brigade plays in Colchester, but also what the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force does for the nation.”

Commander of Colchester Garrison, Colonel Mike Newman MBE, said: “Colchester embodies the spirit of Armed Forces Day, with no town across the country providing better support to the troops based within it.

“That support has sustained 16 Air Assault Brigade through a high tempo of operations in recent years and is something that we are constantly humbled by.”

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Thirty-five soldiers from 3 Regiment Army Air Corps, based at Wattisham Airfield, paraded down Ipswich Street in Stowmarket yesterday at 10.45am.

Local schoolchildren, veterans and residents waved Union Flags as the troops marched towards the Market Place.

Mayor Anne Whybrow and parade officer, captain Andy Rodgers gave speeches before the Rev Michael Eden read a short service.

“In Stowmarket we have a long and historic connection with the forces,” said Mrs Whybrow.

“Many of those who have served and those still serving have made their homes within our community and our lives are intertwined. Today gives us an opportunity to remember and show our appreciation.”

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