TAMESIDE certainly flew the flag to honour service personnel past and present during its Armed Forces Day celebrations.
From poignant poetry to rousing music, the event – held at Victoria Park in Denton last Saturday – was a fitting a tribute to those who have risked or given their lives for their country.
Despite the mixed weather, crowds came along to join in proceedings, which included a short service of remembrance at the war memorial led by Father Alec Mitchell from St Anne’s Church, Denton and accompanied by Denton Brass Band.
One of the most moving points of the day was when local poets George Watkins (a 99-year-old veteran), Paul Broadhurst and Albert Taylor read out their powerful and thought-provoking poems about service and the first and second world wars.
Afterwards, there was live music from Dave Egerton Band and singer Jo Lancaster while Tameside Harmonies, Tameside Music Service’s youth choir, and Do Your Thing choirs also put in fantastic performances.
There was also a huge range of free family-friendly activities, including a climbing wall, archery, face-painting and balloon modelling, as well as a wide range of arts and crafts.
The day, organised by Tameside Council Cultural Service and part funded by a Ministry of Defence grant, was especially successful thanks to the support of SSAFA armed forces charity, Royal British Legion, Armoury Trust, Royal Signal Benevolent Fund, The Duke of Lancs Regimental Association, Healthy Minds, Tameside Citizens Advice Bureau, 247 Air Cadets , Greater Manchester Fire Service, Healthwatch, The Baden Powell Scout Association and the newly formed Tameside Armed Services Community (TASC).
Cllr Ged Cooney, Tameside Council’s executive member with responsibility for armed forces matters, said: “Our armed forces personnel are on duty across the globe, risking their lives day in day out. The sacrifices they make to ensure our safety are remarkable. Armed Forces Day is an opportunity for us to show both our appreciation and support and I would like to thanks everyone who came along, showed their support and contributed to the success of our event.”
Frank Smith, secretary of the Royal British Legion’s Stalybridge and Dukinfield branch, added: “The Armed Forces have always received lots of support from the borough. Tameside people have a long and proud association with all three services and residents are always eager to show their appreciation of the Forces and the excellent work they do.”