Hundreds turn out for Armed Forces Day in Hartlepool

People attending the Headland Festival after watching an Armed Forces Day parade.
People attending the Headland Festival after watching an Armed Forces Day parade.

Hartlepool turned out in force to honour those whose job it is protect us at the weekend’s Armed Forces Day celebrations.

On Saturday, a number of different organisations were represented during a march at the Headland.

Those taking part formed up at the Heugh Gyn Battery and followed the Remembrance Sunday route.

The parade included representatives from D (Rifles) Company, King’s Division Band, 883 Squadron Royal Logistic Corps, Sea/Army/Air Cadets and Ex-Servicemen’s Associations.

The celebration was part of the Headland Festival, organised by Hartlepool Headland Local History Group and Hartlepool Armed Forces Liaison Group, offering everything from battle re-enactments to live music, stalls and circus skills workshops.

Circus skills were also on show at Headland Sports hall, live music at Town Square and face painting at Borough Hall.

Paul Williams, co-ordinator of the Armed Forces Day, said: “The is the first time that the Armed Forces Liaison Group has put this event on, so we have actually had the odd hiccup in the run-up to things.

“But people seem to be enjoying themselves, the sun has come out and we think it’s a great day.”

Mr Williams added that he and other organisers hope to build on the popularity of this year’s event for 2018.

“There are plenty of veterans here and that shows how well thought of they are,” he said.

“We have to keep the Armed Forces in the public eye these days when there is so much conflict happening in the world.

“We really depend on them and it is important that they know that.”

The Lord Lieutenant of County Durham will attended along with other civic dignitaries including the new MP of Hartlepool Mike Hill, the leader of Hartlepool Borough Council Christopher Akers-Belcher and town mayor Paul Beck.

Also among those present at the was Sian Cameron of the Royal British Legion.

“This is a really popular event,” she said.

“I think that things like this bring the best out in people.

“There are conflicts going on around the world and now, younger people will have friends who are fighting somewhere.

“It’s important that we recognise what they do to keep us safe.”

Sian added that this year had been an encouraging one for the Legion’s fund-raising.

“This year we have raised £88,000 which is massive when you consider last year it was £47,000.

“It’s quite a hike.”