Armed Forces Day 2018: Servicemen and women honoured at community events
PUBLISHED: 14:23 02 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:23 02 July 2018
Alan J Millard 15 SG4 0BS
Veterans, cadets and the public came together to mark Armed Forces Day 2018 on Saturday at events in North Herts, Central Beds and Stevenage.
In Letchworth, the event – particularly poignant due to the RAF celebrating its centenary and 2018 being 100 years since the end of the Second World War – was opened by NHDC’s vice chairman Jean Green, alongside military veterans.
During the opening ceremony, warrant officer Shaun Griffin presented a long-awaited war medal to Audrey Poynter for her service to the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.
And to conclude the ceremony, cadets from all services released doves as a sign of future peace – and paid tribute to the fallen.
The day continued with displays from the various cadet groups, the Harpenden Pipe Band, Crystal Majorettes, Garden City Singers and a military boot camp challenge. The cadets also took part in a soap box challenge.
Ken Needham, the branch secretary and treasurer of RAFA in Letchworth and Hitchin, said: “Memories of the old Baldock Soap Box Derby were brought to mind, when the cadets were given the task of building and racing soap boxes.
“Their efforts were more technically designed than those of the past Baldock days.
“The event was surrounded by local trades and associations showing their wares and activities.
“The people of Letchworth would like to thank all those who worked hard behind the scenes to make this event the success it was.”
In Central Bedfordshire, a flag was raised for servicemen and women at the council offices in Chicksands.
The event was attended by the Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis and the county’s High Sheriff Julian Polehill.
Councillor James Jamieson, the leader of Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “It was a great honour to again hold this ceremony at the Central Beds Council offices, and show our support for the tremendous work carried out by our armed forces and the voluntary organisations who look after serving and former armed forces personnel and their families.”
In Stevenage Town Square there were a number of charity stalls, music, food and face painting.
One of the stalls was run by the Stevenage Royal British Legion branch, which raised £1,310 for the Poppy Appeal – both at the town centre event and at an additional stall at Cineworld in the town’s leisure park.