St Stephen Parish Council held a parade and celebration on Sunday 25 June as part of the national Armed Forces Day celebrations. Representatives from the local Cadet Forces and youth organisations were joined by Councillors, veterans and members of the public on the parade of standards through Bricket Wood to the Parish Centre, where Councillor Dorothy Kerry, Parish Council Chair and Stephen Woollard, former member of the Royal Anglian Regiment raised the Armed Forces Day Flag.
The event has been growing year on year and this year saw another increase in numbers, with representatives from 220 St. Albans Squadron Air Training Corps, Beds & Herts Army Cadets, St Columbas Combined Cadet Force and local Guiding and Scouting Units taking part. The raising of the flag was followed by music from Watford Brass Band and tea and cake, provided by the Brownies, on the lawn at the Centre.
Many local residents contributed to the large memorabilia display in Tennyson, including a collection of bugles from local resident Harry Harrison, aged 85, formerly of the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment, who was on hand to talk to visitors about his time in the army and the book he wrote about his experiences.
Attended by around 200 people, the event was held as part of Armed Forces Day, the annual national campaign that gives everyone the opportunity to show their support for the men and women of the Armed Forces past and present, including currently serving troops, Service families, Reservists, veterans and cadets. A charity collection in aid of BLESMA – The Limbless Veterans raised over £156.
Similar events have been taking place across the UK, enabling people to come out and show their support, and giving a much-valued morale boost for Armed Forces personnel and their families. This year’s national event took place in Guildford.
Parish Council Chairman Dorothy Kerry commented:
“This event gives us all the opportunity to think about the work of the armed forces throughout the world, both now and in the past. Our chosen charity this year, BLESMA – The Limbless Veterans, has been providing support to our injured servicemen since the 1930s. During that time they have helped 62,000 serving and ex-Service men and women who have lost limbs, or lost the use of limbs or eyes, to rebuild their lives by providing rehabilitation activities and welfare support. They work tirelessly to guarantee that our limbless veterans are not failed, forgotten or to left to fend for themselves.”
The UK Armed Forces defend the country and its interests. Every day of the year they are busy working around the world, promoting peace, delivering aid, tackling drug smugglers and providing security and fighting terrorism.