Gallery: Forces fundraising event attracts thousands

THOUSANDS of visitors enjoyed a spectacular weekend of entertainment in aid of our Armed Forces.

The Salute for Heroes was held at Glemham Hall, just off the A12 north of Woodbridge, yesterday and Saturday.

Organisers said between 10,000 and 15,000 people turned out for the event, which was raising money for Armed Forces charity Help for Heroes and was sponsored by Archant Suffolk, publishers of the East Anglian Daily Times.

A fantastic programme included historic battle re-enactments from Classical Greek and Roman times through to the English Civil War and post-Second World War.

Meanwhile, there were also vintage aircraft displays from Second World War Mustangs, Spitfires and the B17 bomber.

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Other activities included stunt horses, motorcycle display teams, dog agility, freefall parachute displays, classic cars and motorbikes, armoured vehicles and brass and pipe bands.

Members of the Royal British Legion also performed a moving drum head service.

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Each day there was also a grand finale that included all 1,000 participants, a flypast and a 21-gun salute from a large vintage cannon.

Roger Willison-Gray, chairman of the organising committee and Suffolk co-ordinator for Help for Heroes, said: “We perhaps have not had the numbers we were hoping for but it has been an absolutely stupendous event.

“Everyone who has come along has been blown away.

“We had people leaving the grand finale and the Royal British Legion standards in tears – it was very moving.”

The aim was to try to raise �250,000 for Help for Heroes to put towards the cost of a special personnel recovery centre that will be built in Colchester and will enable troops to be rehabilitated in their own community.

The fundraising effort kicked off in tremendous style on Friday night with an auction that raised �27,500.

Among those items that went under the hammer were signed copies of screenplays by director Richard Curtis which went for �375, a week-long holiday at the Ore Valley Holiday Cottage for �600 and a Fred.Olsen Cruise for �2,500.

Other lots included lunch or dinner for two by Michel Roux Junior, which sold for �500 and a variety of original water colours and oil paintings.

Mr Willison-Gray said they would like to hold a Salute for Heroes every two years to alternate with the Colchester Military Festival.

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