Thousands thank servicemen and women at annual Wakefield Armed Forces Day

Veterans, serving men and women and cadets were among the thousands of people who gathered in the stately grounds of Nostell Priory for the annual Wakefield Armed Forces Day.

Adults and children alike commemorated the dedication of former and current servicemen and women with events, stalls, activities and performances at the 18th century National Trust site.

Armed Forces Event at Nosell Priory'Harvey Cassidy learning how to use a machine gun

Armed Forces Event at Nosell Priory'Harvey Cassidy learning how to use a machine gun

Highlights included a flag raising above the Priory, a military and vintage vehicle display, the chance to handle weaponry including a machine gun and rocket propelled grenade launcher, and wartime military musical performances.

And there was also a climbing tower, inflatable assault course and paintball range for youngsters to enjoy.

The Soldiers Sailors and Airmen Families Association (SSAFA), a charity which offers life long support for the Armed Forces and their families, ran a stall on the day and a special service was held at Wakefield Cathedral on Sunday to mark its 130th anniversary.

The day marked the start of a week of events and activities across the country, ending with the National Armed Forces Day on Saturday, to raise awareness and appreciation for those on active duty and former personnel.

Yesterday, Wakefield’s armed forces champion Coun Sandra Pickin and mayor Coun June Cliffe attended a special ceremony to fly the flag over County Hall for a week. Hemsworth Town Council also raised the flag at the memorial garden outside the community centre, as well as displaying military memorabilia.

And on Wednesday, Wakefield Council is encouraging military reservists to wear their uniforms to work.

Coun Pickin said: “It was a fantastic day, apart from the rain, but that didn’t stop everybody from enjoying it.

“We had the police and air ambulance fly and land in the same field which went down really well.

“It was just a big thank you to all the servicemen and women and their families past and present for doing such a great job for us all. That is what it’s all about, seeing families having a good time while recognising the contribution of those who have fought to protect our country and those still serving.”

Saturday’s national event will focus on Guildford, Surrey. where there will be a military parade and demonstrations including a parachute drop and fly past.

Normanton will also host a parade through its town centre followed by a special service at St John’s Church.

The parade leaves the Alice Bacon Centre at 10.45am.