Hundreds show their support and appreciation during Armed Forces Weekend in Sunderland

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Hundreds of people have gathered in Sunderland to show their support and appreciation for our armed forces this weekend.

The annual event returned to Seaburn Recreation Ground with jam-packed programme of activities and entertainment for all the family.

Armed Forces Day Parade at Seaburn Recreation Ground.

Armed Forces Day Parade at Seaburn Recreation Ground.

Even the sun showed its face as celebrations got underway for day two out of three.

A number of exhibitors were at the event, and there were numerous stalls, selling art and craft items, gifts and food and drink.

Activities include and assult course, climbing wall, first aid demonstrations, children's face painting and more.

Organiser Paul Jasper said: "We started the celebrations on Friday night, with a Prom-style concert which was absolutely brilliant.

Armed Forces Day Parade at Seaburn Recreation Ground.

Armed Forces Day Parade at Seaburn Recreation Ground.

"Today we look at the military day and we have so much happening.

"We have had marching along he seafront with a short parade afterwards, and we've had the bugles, cadet forces etc involved in that.

"We've got a jam-packed entertainment programme in the main marquee.

"We have local bands coming along, doing their bit if you like, in support and celebration of our armed forces."

Armed Forces Day Parade at Seaburn Recreation Ground.

Armed Forces Day Parade at Seaburn Recreation Ground.

A Take That tribute act performing alongside local musicians will be in the main marquee tonight.

And Sunday will see yet another day of fun and entertainment for the whole family, to conclude the this year's celebration, which Mr Jasper says is of great importance as a morale boost for those currently serving in the forces.

He said: "It's absolutely critical that we understand and get the word out.

"A lot of people I don't think are aware of the importance that the community plays towards our armed forces, whether they are actually in touch with armed forces or not, it's important that this weekend is all about the general public celebrating the armed forces, therefore indirectly supporting what the armed forces do and what the armed forces mean.

"We've got to understand that we've got the best armed forces in the world and because we are tax payers we pay for these and we should be supporting and celebrating that fact.

"It's critically important that we understand the importance of of being here this weekend, because word does get back to them and obviously is a boost of morale.

"Because the young lad who is sitting out somewhere in some far-off land sees this in his local paper and feels part of the community because so that's what it's all about."