Armed Forces Weekend returns to Sunderland as crowds show support for city’s serving and veteran personnel

Sunderland’s Armed Forces Weekend has returned after two years of cancellations following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Saturday, 25th June 2022, 4:11 pm

Crowds of people turned out at Seaburn on Saturday to enjoy “a nice community spirit” while celebrating the achievements of Sunderland’s serving and veteran personnel as part of Armed Forces Day.

The two-day event, which runs until 6pm on Sunday, June 26, sees local performers such as the D-Day Darlings and Yvonne the Vintage Vocalist take to the stage.

More than 70 market stalls along with food vendors have taken over Seaburn Park for the special celebration with numerous military associations and charities also attending.

Sunderland Armed Forces Day at Seaburn Park - Star Wars fundraisers North East Legion.

The day-time programme, which kicked off at 10am this morning, included a 13th Century encampment set up by Historia Normanis, military vehicles, martial arts and karate.

A fairground are also on hand to provide entertainment for all the family

The annual event had a special visit this year from Star Wars movie baddie Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers as the flag was raised by the Mayor of Sunderland Cllr Alison Smith

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Sunderland Armed Forces Day at Seaburn Park - medieval combat display.

Organiser John Quinn, who served in the army for 27 years, said on Saturday: “It’s going fantastic, the weather has helped us a lot and we’ve got some great activities on for people.

"There’s a 13th Century village for people to walk through, they are doing battle scene re-enactments and we’ve got karate going on, there’s military vehicles and a flight simulator as well so it’s just fantastic.”

Other activities include a dog show and stands and stalls with help from cadets and Scouts and Cubs.

John added: “It’s a family event and for me we’d have something like this every month because it brings people out in the sun, seeing each other again. There’s a nice community spirit here.

Sunderland Armed Forces Day at Seaburn Park - the Mayor of Sunderland Cllr Alison Smith with John Wilkinson.

"We needed something like this and we have some brilliant acts tonight, like Yvonne who is from Hartlepool, she’s a vintage singer and the D Day Darlings after that from Britain’s Got Talent .

“Previous years we’ve had ticketed events but this year it’s all free, no entry charge so people can just come along, everyone is welcome.”

Celebrations continue tomorrow, June 26, from 10am.