Essex military festival launched

THE Colchester Military Festival - the largest of its kind in the Eastern region - was launched yesterday with a fanfare and special performance by the Band of the Parachute Regiment.

By Roddy Ashworth

THE Colchester Military Festival - the largest of its kind in the Eastern region - was launched yesterday with a fanfare and special performance by the Band of the Parachute Regiment.

The mayor and mayoress of Colchester joined festival patron Martin Bell, the former journalist and MP, to mark the occasion.

Two trumpeters from the Band of the Parachute Regiment played a fanfare from the balcony of the town hall into the High Street to mark the opening of ticket sales for the event, which will be held on Saturday June 16.

Colchester Town Sergeant Richard Buckle then made an announcement before The Band of the Parachute Regiment performed a short recital.

Garrison staff handed out flyers and promotional balloons in the colours of 16 Air Assault Brigade, which is based at the town's garrison.

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The balloons were coloured maroon and light blue, representing the two main attack elements of the brigade - maroon for the berets worn by The Parachute Regiment, and light blue for the berets worn by the Army Air Corps.

Overseeing proceedings was deputy garrison commander Colonel Tony Phillips.

Now in its fourth year, the Colchester Military Festival is scheduled to take place on Abbey Field and will form the focus of the British Army's Falklands 25 Commemorations.

It is expected to attract over 35,000 visitors

The 2007 event will include a display by the Red Devils Parachute Display Team, Bolddog Lings Stunt Motorcycle Display Team, Moto Stunts International and performances from the Parachute Regiment.

New attractions this year include a music arena, an inflatable “It's a Knockout Challenge”, a fun fair and an evening music road show.

Last year more than £15,000 was raised for charity.

Col Phillips said: “The 2006 Colchester Military Festival was an enormous success building on the reputation established by the first Festival in 2004.

“We are hoping this year's Festival, our fourth, will be bigger and better than ever.

“The fact that this event has been chosen to form the focus of the British Army's Falkland 25 Commemorations is testament to its reputation and success.

“The day will have something to appeal to everyone, from static displays and stalls, to interactive attractions for children and historical re-enactments for the enthusiast.

“We look forward to welcoming more of the public this year.”

Event details are available at www.armyopenday.co.uk

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