Armed Forces Week returns for 2016
Blackpool’s Armed Forces Week starts today with an exciting line-up of events and entertainment to honour the nation’s military personnel.
The annual celebration has been running in Blackpool since 2006 and has become a permanent fixture in the resort’s events calendar.
Armed Forces Week is Blackpool’s opportunity to say thank you to our heroes. From June 20 – 26 the whole resort comes together welcoming serving military personnel, veterans and cadets, with a wide range of activities targeted at them and their families as well as the many thousands of people visiting the resort.
Cllr Chris Ryan, Chairman of the Armed Forces Week Committee, said: “Armed Forces Week is back for 2016 and will be as fantastic as ever.
“It promises to be a real treat for visitors, local people, veterans and service personnel alike and I hope people will flock to Blackpool and salute and honour our veterans and service personnel.”
In partnership with Blackpool BID, Armed Forces Day itself, on Saturday June 25, will see a replica Spitfire on display in St John’s Square along with ground crew on hand to answer questions. With opportunities to learn about life in trenches, military bands performing Forces favourites and photo opportunities with Sergeant Major – it promises to be a very special day.
And on the Promenade on the Tower Festival Headland, there will a display of military vehicles, an air display by the Royal Navy Black Cats Display Team (2pm), and a RAF Spitfire flypast (3.20pm) and much more.
The entertainment does not stop there though with the Armed Forces Day Military Concert taking place in the evening at the Norbreck Castle Hotel featuring the Band and Corps of Drums of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (Lancashire).
Throughout the week there are a wide range of events taking place for all ages to enjoy.
Monday 20 June will see the official Armed Forces Week flag raised to signal the official start of the week at Blackpool Town Hall ahead of an evening of entertainment entitled “Music for Heroes” at the Opera House.
Tuesday sees an Armed Forces Careers Information Day at the Houndshill Centre and Viva Blackpool’s matinee show “We’ll Meet Again” produced by Blackpool showbiz legend Duggie Chapman MBE.
Wednesday meanwhile, features an afternoon tea dance at The Blackpool Tower and a free evening of entertainment at Marton Institute.
From Tuesday to Thursday, local schoolchildren will also be taking part in Armed Forces Week with the “Going to the Flicks” project, taking them from the classroom to the Odeon cinema, Blackpool, for a special war-time experience including films and talks from military personnel.
Friday features a Service of Dedication at the Fylde Memorial Arboretum to commemorate our Armed Forces and veterans while the evening sees what many veterans consider the highlight of the week, the Grand Gala Dinner.
And following Saturday’s Armed Forces Day celebrations, the week ends with the Sunday morning Cenotaph service and parade followed by the Blackpool Taxi Pull, an annual event which sees local cabbies show off their strength to raise money for Armed Forces charities and finally the Submariners Sizzling BBQ at the Guards Club.
Two local businesses have chosen to say thanks to our Armed Forces by inviting them for a free meal. On Wednesday 22, Michael Wan’s Mandarin restaurant will offer a free lunch and on Thursday 23 Coral Island will play host.
It is hoped the public will, once again, turn out in their droves for the parade and show their support for our brave soldiers and military personnel both past and present.
The full programme for Armed Forces Week, and more details about individual events, is available at www.armedforcesweek.co.uk