HUNDREDS of memory balloons were released in Castleford on Saturday to mark lives lost in combat since the start of the war in Afghanistan.
The Armed Forces Day event – which included a parade through the town centre and activities at Castleford Tigers’ Wheldon Road ground – has so far raised £1,220 for three charities, the James Backhouse Memorial Trust Fund, the Army Benevolent Fund, and Selly Oak Hospital.
The event was organised by Airedale mum Sharon Backhouse whose son, Rifleman James Backhouse, was killed in Afghanistan two years ago.
She said: “The day started off with the parade which choked us up a bit, but I couldn’t believe how many people stopped in the street, clapped the veterans and made donations.”
The parade of veterans and active servicemen, led by Kippax Brass Band, marched from the Castleford Royal British Legion Club to the Tigers’ stadium, where Mrs Backhouse and her husband Andrew were presented with a medal on behalf of the armed services.
Activities at the ground included paintballing, a bouncy castle and an obstacle course.
Darren Payne, events organiser for Tigers, said: “It was a fantastic day, we had a lot of fun and the weather stayed pretty good.
“Club coach Terry Matterson gave a speech outlining the importance of supporting the armed forces and praised the turnout at the event.
“It is really important to support the guys who are fighting for their country and I’m proud Castleford Tigers was involved in this event.”
A Hurricane fighter pilot circled around the stadium on the day and local singers, including girl trio Tres Belle, entertained the crowds.
Mr Payne added: “On behalf of the club I would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved, particularly Sharon Backhouse who organised the event.”