The courage, dedication and commitment of personnel serving in the British Armed Forces will be recognised in Leeds later this month as part of a special day of celebrations.
Held on Saturday 24 June 2017 from 11am-4pm, a range of free activities and events will be on offer as Leeds marks national Armed Forces Day in style and also pays tribute to the contribution of reservists, veterans and cadets.
The people of Leeds and the wider region can once again enjoy a packed family-fun programme of entertainment and find out more about the history of the Armed Forces and the important role that they play on the day, which will be hosted by the new city Lord Mayor, Cllr Jane Dowson.
Set to be the largest Armed Forces Day event ever held in the city, festivities will take place on Millennium Square, Victoria Gardens and Cookridge Street. On offer will include a military parade featuring serving personnel and veterans, which this year will be led by Royal Navy officers from HMS Audacious.
This follows last year the astute-class submarine being officially tied to the city of Leeds. Charity and armed forces linked stalls will also be available along with a display of military vehicles and two Second World War-era aircraft. Situated on Millennium Square and certainly not to be missed will be a German ME109 and a legendary Spitfire.
Those in attendance will also have the opportunity to suit up and wear kit worn by military personnel, and see at close-hand some of the weaponry that the services use. Available to entertain youngsters will also be a climbing wall, shooting range, arts, crafts, bouncy castle and bungee run. In what has now become tradition, the festivities will be rounded off with a breath-taking flypast above the Headrow, which weather permitting, will this year be from an RAF Lancaster Bomber.
To keep up to date on timings for Armed Forces Day and programme details, please see: www.whatson.leeds.gov.uk
An official Armed Forces Day launch, including a flag-raising ceremony, will be held on Monday 19 June. More details will be provided at a later date.
Leeds City Council’s armed forces champion Councillor Graham Hyde said:
“As a city, we are extremely proud of our armed forces personnel and the vitally important work that they are undertaking with such great dedication and professionalism around the world. We were very keen therefore to see Leeds play its full part in the national Armed Forces Day celebrations, and I am delighted to say that the response from the public to our city-based events and the reception given to serving personnel and veterans taking part has been absolutely tremendous.
“The programme for this year’s event on June 24 is I am delighted to say again really fantastic, and is the largest and most varied yet. With so much on offer, Armed Forces Day really is an event not to be missed, and a big thank you to everyone who is taking part and contributed to the organising of the event.”
The Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Jane Dowson said:
“It is a privilege to be given the honour of hosting Leeds’ Armed Forces Day celebrations in what is undoubtedly one of the real highlights in our city’s events’ calendar.
“This is a brilliant opportunity for people of all ages to show their appreciation to our armed forces, reservists, veterans and cadets and also find out more from serving personnel and veterans about what they do and listen to their own experiences. A wide-range of events and activities will be on offer including a parade, stalls and entertainment perfect for all the family. We will also have two planes from the Second World War on display in Millennium Square, and weather permitting, an unforgettable flypast over the Headrow by a RAF Lancaster Bomber.”
Captain Scott Bower, commanding officer of Audacious, added:
“Audacious’ Launch on April 28 was a key milestone in the Astute programme and an important moment – not only for the crew of Audacious, but for the whole of the Royal Navy. It is at this stage that the submarine starts to become a real entity that the crew can really feel involved with.
“The Astute Class are amongst the most technologically advanced and highly capable submarines in the world and each new submarine is a welcome addition to the Royal Navy. Having commanded Artful out of her build stage I look forward to using my experience in support of Audacious’ development as she moves towards her exit from Barrow and into Naval Service.”