Armed Forces Day celebrations

By Jon Moreno

Monday, June 23, 2014

 

Armed Forces Day celebrations

Isle of Wight veteran Jim Long, 98, arrived at an Armed Forces Day celebration in Newport on Monday. Picture by Jennifer Burton.

A PARADE of 250 veterans and cadets celebrated Armed Forces Day in Ryde on Saturday, led by Islander Kerry Gustar, who carried the national standard of the War Widows Association.

Thousands of people attended the Ryde seafront event, in perfect weather, enjoying the chance to speak to ex-servicemen, see military vehicles and displays of military skills by cadets and the Territorial Army.

Crowds also enjoyed an aerobatic display with Russian Yakovlev fighter planes, performed by The Flying Yakovlevs Aviation Legends, as well as Proms in the Park and fireworks.

Today (Monday) veterans and dignitaries from the Isle of Wight gathered in Newport for an annual Armed Forces flag raising ceremony.

The ceremony, conducted by Reverend Kevin Arkell, was an opportunity for people to show support for the military community, both serving and retired.

Also present were Lord Lt Maj Gen Martin White and council chairman and chairman of Isle of Wight Armed Forces Community Covenant Partnership Cllr Ian Ward.

After the flag raising ceremony, Cllr Ward presented a grant on behalf of the Community Covenant Partnership to Nature Therapy, a community interest company that helps former members of the armed forces learn new skills involving nature.

The covenant has been developed by local people as a voluntary pledge of mutual support between a civilian community and its local armed forces community.

The grant will be accepted on Nature Therapy’s behalf by 98-year-old veteran, Jim Long, a former forces dispatch rider who has raised thousands of pounds for charity and arrived in St Thomas’s Square on a motorbike.

Cllr Ward, said: "It is important that we recognise the work of our armed forces and show the Island’s support for the military community, both serving and retired.

"I am delighted to be presenting our first grant at this year’s flag raising ceremony and it is very fitting for Jim who has contributed so much to the armed forces community - to accept the grant on Nature Therapy’s behalf."

• For more photos and a full report from Armed Forces Day, please see the Isle of Wight County Press, on June 27.

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