People unite for Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day in Hastings.'Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-150629-072500001
Armed Forces Day in Hastings.'Photo by Frank Copper. SUS-150629-072500001

Servicemen and women joined with members of local youth organisations to celebrate Armed Forces Day on Sunday.

The event saw an impressive gathering and a host of activities taking place in Alexandra Park.

It was hosted by the Hastings and St. Leonards Veteran’s Association under its Chairman Richard Butcher, Vice Chairman Stuart Murphy and a committee of volunteers.

Rear Admiral Kingwell attended, accompanied by Lieutenant Garth Deppe They were piped aboard the guest’s enclosure by a cadet from TS Hastings.

The Admiral was greeted by the President and Vice President of the Veteran’s Association, Hastings Mayor Cllr Bruce Dowling and MP Amber Rudd, before the entry to the Arena of the marching units.

During the morning there was a ceremony to raise the Union Flag; inspections of the parade; a service of dedication, laying of wreaths and speeches

From noon there were displays of singing, dancing, acrobatics and gymnastics.

There was a display of military vehicles provided by the Hastings Military Vehicle Group; music performed by the 1066 Pipes and Drums Marching Band and various performances by Sparks Dance Crew, Acromax Acrobatics and Gymnastics Team, Hastings Coastal Twirlers, Karate School and Hastleons amateur and operatics dramatics group.

One of the highlights was the pulling of a military 3.5 ton passenger transport vehicle some 75 metres in 29 seconds by students from the Military Preparation College based at the TA Centre in Cinque Ports Way.

The Military Preparation College was established in 2011 and has a team of 40 students under the guidance of three trainers, two of which are former serving military personnel. The aim is to provide military training opportunities to young people.

The day came to a close at 3.45pm with a ‘Beating the Retreat and lowering of the Flag’ ceremony.

Pictures by Frank Copper.

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