Sunderland plans three-day tribute to armed forces

Ready to mark Armed Forces Day are Tom Hudson, Janice Proctor, Doug Bryant, Alex Bonallie and Paul Jasper.
Ready to mark Armed Forces Day are Tom Hudson, Janice Proctor, Doug Bryant, Alex Bonallie and Paul Jasper.
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A three-day tribute to the armed forces is being lined up in Sunderland.

For the sixth year, the city will be holding its own programme of events to mark Armed Forces Weekend, and a rallying call has gone out for people to get involved.

A previous Freedom of the City March through Sunderland city centre for Armed Forces Day.

A previous Freedom of the City March through Sunderland city centre for Armed Forces Day.

Activities will be based around the recreation ground at Seaburn from June 24 to June 26. The man behind it all is Paul Jasper, who served himself for 23 years with the Light Infantry.

He explained: “The Armed Forces Weekend itself started in 2009 and we started in Sunderland in 2010. We had our best year last year and we want to celebrate the commitment that the armed forces give during the course of the year.”

Nationally, Armed Forces Day is a chance for people to show their support for the men and women who make up the armed forces community.

Locally, a full weekend of highlights will include an opening ceremony with a singalong and reunion of veterans on the opening night, on Friday, June 24.

We had our best year last year and we want to celebrate the commitment that the armed forces give during the course of the year

Paul Jasper

It starts at 6pm and promises five hours of highlights.

Over the rest of the weekend, there will be a military march on the Saturday; a football competition, a dog show; beer tent; wall climbing; laser attraction; and numerous bands.

Tickets are already available for what promises to be a packed schedule of attractions.

Paul added: “There is a full weekend of entertainment, which will include local bands, local dance bands and dance societies.

“There will be brass bands, drummer bands and jazz bands. There’s lots of things.”

Tickets for the Friday night opening ceremony are £2 each. They are £10 for the Saturday night concert, where gates open at 6pm and will feature highlights including Abba and Queen tributes.

And on the Sunday, there will be an eight-hour family day from 9am, which will include a dog show as well as a football competition for youngsters.

For more details, visit https://www.armedforcesday.org.uk/

Organisers also want to hear from people interested in volunteering at the event.

Find out more from 07710 690295.