Miltary festival to return this year

A MAJOR military festival that was cancelled last year due to overseas engagements is to return this summer.

A MAJOR military festival that was cancelled last year due to overseas engagements is to return this summer.

The popular Colchester Military Festival will be returning to Abbey Field on Saturday July 18.

This year's event will feature appearances from established attractions such as the Red Devils parachute team and will also feature a display from the famous White Helmets Motorcycle Display Team.

New attractions for this year's festival include exhibitions from the Essex Dog Display Team and a five-a-side football tournament.

The day will also feature displays from units across the armed forces and various historical re-enactments.

Along with a funfair there will also be performances from many military bands and a stage featuring live music.

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Visitors will also be able to pay to go on a helicopter tour of Colchester's sites.

The day will culminate in a grand finale supported by the military bands, a gun salute and a helicopter flypast.

Garrison Commander Colonel Tony Phillips said: “Colchester Garrison enjoys a unique bond with Colchester town and the steadfast support for the troops sends a powerful message of encouragement.

“This is why we are delighted to launch this year's Colchester Military Festival, to open our doors and offer the opportunity to come and see us at home.

“This year promises to be bigger and better than before and it is a significant regional event not to be missed.

“It will be impressive and exciting and holds appeal to everyone.

“We look forward to seeing you there”

This summer's event will be the first in two years as the previous festival had to be cancelled due to members of 16 Air Assault Brigade being posted to Afghanistan.

All the money raised will go towards a variety of military and civilian charities.

The previous event held in 2007 raised �20,000 for charity and had an attendance of more than 30,000. Tickets are available now and there is a discount for advanced purchases.

They are available from Colchester Visitor Information Centre on 01206 282920 and tourist information centres in Clacton on Sea, Ipswich, Harwich, Witham and Braintree.