Date issued: 22 June 2020
A bugler from British Army Band Colchester heralded Armed Forces Day in Colchester, at 10am, today (22 June 2020).
Colchester Borough Council joined local authorities and community groups across the nation by flying the Armed Forces Day flag in support of servicemen and women and for the wider Armed Forces community of families, veterans and cadets.
The raising of the Armed Forces Day flag usually heralds a week of celebrations culminating in a national event on the last Saturday of June. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, this year’s Armed Forces Day national event, which was to have taken place in Scarborough on Saturday 27 June, will now be held virtually with the public encouraged to show their support in other ways.
Colchester raised its Armed Forces Day flag, alongside the Pegasus flag of 16 Air Assault Brigade, from the Town Hall. Today is of particular significance for the Colchester-based formation, marking 80 years since the creation of British airborne forces during the Second World War.
The Deputy Mayor of Colchester, Councillor Robert Davidson, led the ceremony, accompanied by the Deputy Mayoress, Liz Davidson, the Garrison’s Deputy Chief of Staff Major Huw Thomas and Garrison Sergeant Major WO1 Andy Lamont.
Before the ceremony began, participants observed a one minute's silence for the victims of Saturday’s Reading attack.
The Deputy Mayor of Colchester, Councillor Robert Davidson, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has affected every part of our community and how we would wish to celebrate events such as this. It therefore gives me immense pride, as Deputy Mayor, that our plans to raise the Armed Forces flag were not thwarted but just arranged a little differently this year.
“The raising of the flag gives us the opportunity to thank the military community who have devoted their lives to protecting our nation. I offer my respect, admiration and gratitude to our service personnel and their families, and the veterans and cadets who make up the Armed Forces Community and offer Colchester’s enduring commitment of support to you all.”
Major Thomas added: “Armed Forces Day is a chance for the nation to thank the military community, which encompasses serving troops, both regular and reserve, their families, veterans and cadets.
“Colchester Garrison is hugely proud of the close and longstanding bond that exists between the military and civilian communities in Colchester – a relationship that it is ever more important as we face the challenge of coronavirus together.”
Last August, the council received a Gold award from the Ministry of Defence’s Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS), for its work to support the Defence and Armed Forces community. It was the first Gold Award for the authority, having already collected the Silver and Bronze accolades.
As part of its ongoing commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, the council is inviting Armed Forces personnel living in the borough to register their name and address so they can be kept informed about events and issues regarding the covenant, council help available and anything else that may be of interest.
For more information about Armed Forces Day, visit www.armedforcesday.org.uk