Families come together to start Armed Forces Day celebrations in Sunderland
Sunderland is marking Armed Forces Day '“ after a patriotic sing-along event was attended by families tonight
This year’s celebration of the work of the armed forces is taking place over the weekend in the city.
The event got underway tonight at Seaburn Recreation Park, with an Armed Forces Day flag raised before visitors enjoyed music from Bearpark and Esh Colliery Band.
It is set to continue at 10am tomorrow, on what is recognised as Armed Forces Day across the country.
A band is set to march along the seafront, followed by a display of all armed forces in the Recreation Park.
Meanwhile, a Take That tribute band will perform tomorrow night in an evening packed with entertainment, and the event will conclude tomorrow with a family day, including a dog show and football tournament.
Paul Jasper, of the organising committee, was delighted to get the celebrations underway tonight – and hopes Wearside will come out in force over the weekend.
He said: “This is not armed forces celebrating armed forces.
“It’s the general public saying we have the best forces in the world, and we should celebrate that fact.
“Celebrating the armed forces is very important to serving members of our armed forces.
“They know then that they’re appreciated and being thought of.
“When I was serving, we were out there and didn’t know, but with the technology we have now, it’s much easier.
“It’s a morale-booster for all those serving, and that’s why we do this.
“We hope people will enjoy it over the weekend.
“The main thing is the celebratory aspect.”
On the organisation behind the three-day event, Mr Jasper added: “A lot of hard work goes into organising the weekend.
“It took us 11 months to organise this one.
“We just want to do our bit to celebrate our armed forces.”
Janice Procter, whose son, Michael Tench, was killed while serving in Iraq in 2007, is also on the organising committee.
She said: “A lot of hard work and unpaid hours go into organising this event.
“It’s important to remember that this is celebratory, and celebrating what our armed forces do, fighting for our freedom.
“We’re doing this because of what we have, and no one seems to celebrate that.”