PICTURES: Hundreds gather to honour Armed Forces

Crowds gathered in the bright sunshine on Sunday (June 24) in a local celebration to show appreciation for the work of the Armed Forces.

The free event, hosted by the Hastings and St Leonards Veterans Association, took place in Alexandra Park.

Armed Forces Day in Alexandra Park. Photo by Frank Copper SUS-180625-080357001

Armed Forces Day in Alexandra Park. Photo by Frank Copper SUS-180625-080357001

The honouring was held as part of Armed Forces Day, the annual national campaign that gives everyone the opportunity to show their respect for the men and women in our Armed Forces.

The day began with a colourful parade from the park gates, led by the music of the 17th Tonbridge Scout and Guide Band, before they proudly marched into the arena in front of the crowds.

Awaiting them were the inspecting officer, Air Marshal Chris Nickols, Hastings MP Amber Rudd, the mayor, Councillor Nigel Sinden and deputy mayor Councillor James Bacon.

The parade involved a ceremonial raising of the flag, laying of wreaths and a drum-head service, followed by a salute from Chris Nickols.

Afterwards cadet units and Hollington Gymnastics Club demonstrated their skills in the arena. The Home Front Lindy Hoppers then drove their Jeeps into the arena before entertaining with their foot-tapping music and vintage dances. The day ended with a ‘sunset’ ceremony and the lowering of the union flag.

Amber Rudd said: “I am proud of the courage and dedication of our Armed Forces and I am grateful for this opportunity to thank our servicemen and women for the sacrifices they have made and do make to serve our country.

“Our servicemen and women put their country first and defend it in order to secure its future peace.

The support and love of their families is integral to this. I would like to thank our local Veterans for organising such a fantastic celebration.”

Words by Jess Reid

Pictures by Frank Copper