People from across Rotherham can show their appreciation and support for the men and women of the Armed Forces – both serving and veterans – at an action-packed community event this month.
The borough’s biggest ever Armed Forces Day celebration will take over the town centre on Saturday 24 June, with a packed line-up of entertainment and activities throughout the day and – for the first time – in to the night, with a free music event in Clifton Park.
The traditional parade will begin the proceedings from Rotherham Town Hall at 10.30am – led by the Mayor of Rotherham, the South Yorkshire Police Band and accompanied by Chestnut Troop 1 Royal Horse Artillery.
This will be followed by a ceremony to remember those who have given their lives for our country, and giving thanks to veterans and active servicemen and women for their contribution to the nation’s security.
The day will feature a Christian blessing and reading from the Koran, and the official Armed Forces Day flag will be raised by World War Two RAF veteran, Mr John Watkins.
Highlights in the afternoon include a dramatic flypast from the Lancaster Bomber from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight – scheduled for 12.50pm (weather permitting).
Led by Rotherham Council, a wide range of organisations – including the Military Community and Veterans Centre (MCVC), voluntary groups and South Yorkshire Police - have worked together in partnership to deliver the event, which provides an opportunity for people of all ages, from all faiths and walks of life, to come together and celebrate locally this national occasion.
Cllr Eve Keenan, Mayor of Rotherham, encouraged people from across the community to come together and honour everyone in the Armed Forces community for their outstanding service and contribution, both past and present.
She said: “Armed Forces Day is always a highlight in the calendar – and this year is our biggest event yet.
“It’s a great opportunity for Rotherham people of all backgrounds, cultures and faiths to come together to show our support and appreciation for the outstanding work and bravery shown by the Armed Forces, and to celebrate all that unites us as a community.”
The day will also feature street entertainment, performances from cadets and a variety of stalls and activities.
Cllr Keenan added: “It promises to be a great day of family entertainment - including a Vera Lynn tribute in All Saints Square, demonstrations by various cadet groups throughout the afternoon – and look out for the fabulous Stilt Walking Guardsman!
“For the first time we will also be carrying the Armed Forces Day celebration in to the evening, with an evening of free classical music in Clifton Park.”
The Summer Proms in the Park event, which proved a big hit at last year’s Rotherham Show, will feature music from the Queen’s Division Army Band – starting from 7.30pm.
Local community groups and retailers who are supporting the event include the Rotherham Together Partnership, Tesco, Costco, Fitzwilliam & Hughes, Pattersons Butchers and Greggs.
Free parking will be provided by the council in its official off-street car park, Forge Island, to encourage visitors to the event and promote the opportunities for shopping and leisure in the town centre during the day.