Sunderland pays its respects at Armed Forces Day

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Hundreds flocked to Seaburn for the city's biggest ever Armed Forces Day event.

Now in its sixth year, Sunderland's Armed Forces Day has grown into a three-day weekend of celebrations.

Today's Armed Forces Day

Today's Armed Forces Day

Today, highlights included a military march including cadets and veterans, who paraded from the Fat Buddha restaurant, along the seafront, and into the recreation ground for inspection.

As well as military stalls and displays, civilian organisations, such as martial arts groups, took part in activities, with live music, Stormtroopers and fairground rides also adding to the entertainment.

Sunderland Mayor, Coun Alan Emerson, said: "It's been an absolutely amazing turn out today, and shows how much esteem people have for the Armed Forces. It's a great reflection of the respect Sunderland has for the military.

"Sunderland is a big recruiting area for the Armed Forces, especially 4th Regiment Royal Artillery and the Royal Navy, and it's great that we honour our military traditions."

Today's Armed Forces Day

Today's Armed Forces Day

Janice Procter is part of the Forces Day Sunderland organisation who stage the event. It's a particularly poignant event for the Sunderland mum whose son Michael Tench, 18, was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2007.

"Organising the weekend has been a lot of had work, but the turnout has been absolutely fantastic," she said. "It just gets bigger every year, we're already half booked up for stalls for next year's event.

"It's not just about Sunderland, we've had cadets from Durham and people taking part in the march who are from South Shields. This event is for any ex-service personnel. If they've worn that uniform, this is for them."

The event opened last night and continues tomorrow at Seaburn Recreation Ground with a dog show, a football competition and other events.

With more than 26,000 veterans who call Sunderland home, the city holds one of the biggest Armed Forces Day events.

Today's Armed Forces Day

Today's Armed Forces Day

Nationally, Armed Forces Day events took place up and down the country. The annual event is a chance for communities to show their support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to service families, veterans and cadets.

Today's Armed Forces Day

Today's Armed Forces Day

Today's Armed Forces Day

Today's Armed Forces Day

Today's Armed Forces Day

Today's Armed Forces Day

Today's Armed Forces Day

Today's Armed Forces Day

Today's Armed Forces Day

Today's Armed Forces Day

Today's Armed Forces Day

Today's Armed Forces Day

Today's Armed Forces Day

Today's Armed Forces Day