Districts Determined To Celebrate Armed Forces Community

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are urging residents to show their support for brave service personnel by taking part in Armed Forces Day celebrations next week.

Suffolk marks the day annually as part of its ongoing commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, and this year’s events will be hosted by Babergh District Council in partnership with the military, Hadleigh Town Council and the Royal British Legion.

Celebrations will begin with an Armed Forces Day Window Trail in Hadleigh, due to start on Monday June 21. A number of local shops are participating in the trail, which features military themed window displays on and around the High Street. 

It is hoped this will encourage visitors to some of Hadleigh’s smaller businesses as part of Babergh District Council’s ongoing Shop Local campaign and wider vision for the town.

Those wishing to download a map for the trail can do so by visiting: www.babergh.gov.uk/communities/armed-forces-day/and anyone taking part in the trail can choose to enter a free prize draw, with full competition details available on the councils’ website. 

Hadleigh residents and visitors to the town can also privately pay tribute to troops at the war memorial’s Armed Forces Day flag, due to be proudly displayed throughout the week.

Babergh District Council’s Chairman, Cllr Adrian Osborne, and senior military officers will raise Suffolk’s flag during a private ceremony at Wattisham Flying Station on Tuesday June 22. 

Plans for an Armed Forces Day community event in Hadleigh next week  – featuring a military parade and performances from local bands and dance troupes – have, sadly, been cancelled following the Government’s recent decision to postpone the further easing of Covid-19 restrictions originally planned for June 21.

However, this will not stop Babergh and Mid Suffolk from thanking our brave armed forces community, who have continued to provide national security, whilst also playing a vital role in supporting the country’s response to Covid-19. 

Residents wishing to recognise this dedication can raise a salute to troops, veterans, cadets and military families on Armed Forces Day itself, Saturday June 26 – and share a photo or video of this on social media, using the hashtag #SaluteOurForces. 

Cllr Derek Davis, cabinet member for Communities for Babergh District Council commented: 

“Armed Forces Day presents the perfect opportunity for Babergh residents to pay tribute to our brave service personnel, both past and present, who have selflessly dedicated years of their lives to protect our country.

“While it’s very disappointing that next week’s community thank you event can no longer take place as planned due to the Government delaying step four of the roadmap, our district remains determined to mark Armed Forces Day still.

“I would encourage anyone wishing to show their support to visit Hadleigh’s war memorial or participate in the town’s window trail – enabling our armed forces community to be celebrated in a safe and Covid secure way.”

Cllr Julie Flatman, cabinet member for Communities for Mid Suffolk District Council said: 

“Our council remains committed to supporting Mid Suffolk’s hard working military community. 

“We are immensely appreciative of their tireless efforts to keep us safe, not just during times of conflict but in humanitarian emergencies such as the recent Covid-19 pandemic. 

“It is now our duty to honour their unwavering commitment by taking part in virtual celebrations, bringing out the bunting and proudly saluting our service personnel on Armed Forces Day next week.”

Senior Aircraftman Hutchinson, Reservist Gunner with 2623 Squadron RAF Reserves commented:

“On Armed Forces Day my thoughts immediately turn to my family and those that served in the defining wars of the last century. I think of my father who was my inspiration to become a reservist and I think of the people and friends I have made in what has been an incredibly rewarding journey.”

Further ideas on how to mark the day and support our service personnel can be found on the council’s website, which also includes stories from some of our county’s finest military heroes ranging from the Lord Lieutenant’s Army Cadet for Suffolk, to a busy mum of three who has been highly commended for her important role in the RAF.

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