Sunderland gets ready for Armed Forces Day celebration events

Mayor of Sunderland Councillor Lynda Scanlan.
Mayor of Sunderland Councillor Lynda Scanlan.

Sunderland will pay its annual tribute to the military by raising the flag to support Armed Forces Day this weekend.

The day marks the annual, national celebratory programme of events and activities launched in 2009, to help raise awareness of the contribution made by military personnel and their families to life in their country and communities.

Last year's Armed Forces Day celebrations in Sunderland.

Last year's Armed Forces Day celebrations in Sunderland.

To help promote the day, and a full week of events (24 June - 1 July) being staged in communities across the UK, an official flag raising ceremony will be held on the main public concourse outside the council chamber at Sunderland Civic Centre at 10am on Friday.

The week also includes National Reservists Day on Wednesday, June 27, which recognises all those who volunteer to serve in the Reserve Forces which make up one sixth of Armed Forces personnel and provide support to military operations across the world.

Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Lynda Scanlan, will be joined for the ceremonial flag raising by the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, Mrs Susan Winfield OBE, Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council and designated Armed Forces Champion, Coun Michael Mordey, and Chair of Sunderland Armed Forces Partnership and Sunderland Veterans Forum, Sunderland Partnership Manager, Jessica May.

Everybody is welcome to attend from 9.45am - 10.45am to show their support, and join military personnel and representatives of regiments and associations from across the Armed Forces to pay tribute.

Last year's Armed Forces Day celebrations in Sunderland.

Last year's Armed Forces Day celebrations in Sunderland.

Coun Scanlan, will also be among those attending a musical event organised by Veteran’s groups at Seaburn's Recreation Park on Saturday evening.

She said: "Our city has a close, strong relationship with our Armed Forces and this annual flag raising ceremony is an opportunity for us all to gather at the Civic Centre to demonstrate our thanks and continued support for all that they do for us.

"As Mayor of Sunderland I am honoured and proud to represent the people of our city at the ceremony, and help celebrate the links which we have with those across all the Senior Services.

"Armed Forces Day provides us all with the opportunity to show how much we value and appreciate the contribution and sacrifices they and their families make on all our behalf."

The Mayor added: “Raising the flag also helps us to remember National Reserves Day earlier in the week, which is our country’s tribute to all those who volunteer to serve in the Reserves Forces providing vital support in military operations around the world.”

Chairman of Sunderland Armed Forces Partnership and Sunderland Veterans Forum, Sunderland Partnership Manager, Jessica May, said: “I feel both exceptionally proud and privileged to join colleagues from the Sunderland Armed Forces Partnership and Veterans Forum.

“Sunderland historically has such strong links to the Armed Forces, we only need to look at the Memorial Wall and Veteran’s walk behind the Cenotaph or look at those who have been given the Freedom of the City to be reminded of that.

“Those ties, as we all know, remain strong today.

"Many of our young people join the Forces and serve our country with honour distinction, before returning home to civilian life and becoming valued members of their community greatly enriched by their experiences.”

Seaham's Armed Forces Day event will run from 10am to 6pm on Saturday, on the Terrace Green in the shadow of the Tommy artwork by Ray Lonsdale.

It too will help mark 100 years since the First World War as well as 100 years since women were first given the vote.

The day will feature a ceremonial parade, live music and food, donkey rides, makers and bakers stalls and Victorian rides.

It has been planned by the Seaham Remember Them Fund and Events2Go and organisers say people will be encouraged to pull on fancy dress.