Thousands help to celebrate Armed Forces Day in Bury St Edmunds
PUBLISHED: 06:18 01 July 2018 | UPDATED: 06:32 01 July 2018
The town was full of people and the Abbey Gardens was buzzing as thousands of people descended on Bury St Edmunds for Armed Forces Day, on Saturday.
People were basking in the sunshine, enjoying the entertainment on offer and taking in the sights and sounds of demonstrations and re-enactors.
There were displays from throughout the ages, historical exhibitions, activities, military vehicles, fun fair rides, live music, a climbing wall, face painting and refreshments.
The military re-enactments helped the event go with several loud bangs and later in the evening an Armed Forces Day concert by the Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra was held at the Apex.
The day in the gardens begun at 11am with the Norwich and Norfolk Medieval Association, followed by the Haverhill Silver Band, 17th Century Life & Times, the Tri-Base Singers, 95th Rifles Living History Society, Bury St Edmunds Sea Cadets Band, Suffolk Regiment Living History Society and the Bury St Edmunds Concert Band.
There were also stalls and displays from a series of military organisations including the Army Air Corps, the Suffolk Regiment Museum, the Bury St Edmunds Sea Cadet Corps, Blind Veterans UK, SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association), Royal Air Forces Association, Blesma for limbless veterans, Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion.
And renactment groups were on display throughout the day featuring the Norwich and Norfolk Medieval Association and the 95th Rifles Living History Society along with the 17th Century Life & Times.
James Thompson, aged seven, who lives in Bury St Edmunds, had his photograph taken with Paul Lennox of the Life & Times group and he was thrilled with the day’s events.
Mr Lennox said the day had been wonderful and a great success.
David Preece, a lieutenant in the 1st Battlion Suffolk Regiment, said many of his 12-strong group come from Suffolk and were delighted to be taking part in the day.
“It’s been great for us to be here and we have members, all volunteers, from as far as Kent and Hampshire,” he said.
But the hoped for flypast by a Hurricane had to be cancelled because of mechanical problems with the craft.
Robert Everitt, borough councillor and portfolio holder for the Armed Forces Covenant, said: “There was a lot of people in the Abbey Gardens today. The flypast would have been the icing on the cake but it was not to be unfortunately as it was suffering from mechanical problems.
“The residents of the town are very supportive of the armed forces and it’s them that make it a bit special for us as they all turn out en masse.
“At the end of the day its the collaboration of what the forces do for the country and the fact that as many people show how much they appreciate what they do for us.
“They tell me that it’s a pleasure to be a part of it as the residents turn out for them.
“The RAF, Army Air Corps and USAF have been and continue to be based in Suffolk. We are currently the home to many UK and US service personnel who are our neighbours and friends as well as having strong ties to the navy through HMS Vengeance.
“Our communities have always prided themselves in welcoming and supporting the armed forces, both past and present and they were out in force today.
“These events give us the opportunity to show our support and appreciation for our brave service personnel.”
WHAT’S ON TO MARK THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR
There’s a host of events taking place to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War.
In Bury St Edmunds the World War 1 trail is being launched, on Wednesday, at the Greene King Beer Cafe. It features 18 pieces of artwork which will be dotted round the town and is in place until Armistice Day, November 11.
It is being organised by the My WiSH Charity and Our Bury St Edmunds and is aiming to help boost the funds of the Every Heart Matters appeal which is aiming to raise £500,000 to help create a fully integrated cardiac centre at the West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds.
Meanwhile, mural boards designed by pupils from East Bergholt High School are being used to protect Capel St Mary’s war memorial until it is dedicated on November 11 to mark the 100th anniversary of the World War One Armistice.
Once the memorial is unveiled the boards will form a part of a World War One exhibition in Capel Community Centre before being returned to the school.
And nationally the War Graves Photographic Project is currently underway to create a photographic record of every British and Commonwealth war grave and memorial inscription from the First World War.
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