Brid turns out in force to celebrate veterans

Crowds of well-wishers lined the streets of Bridlington to watch a celebratory parade in honour of war veterans and serving members of the British armed forces.

Bridlington’s Armed Forces Day celebrations were in full swing on Saturday 5 July, with a colourful march through town to a jam-packed summer fair at the Royal British Legion’s (RBL) Alderson House.

The fair raised £4,218.59 for Alderson House to send veterans and current service personnel on much-needed breaks away with their families around the country.

Helen Birkbeck, manager at the house, said: “It is the most we have raised in seven years now. It was wonderful, everything went well and the music was great. The sun shone, the march was brilliant and we had a memorial service out the front.

“For us it is really important that we raise this money because locally we have to raise £85,000 a year. The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal pays for the buildings for the breaks but we have to raise the money for entertainment, tickets, hiring minibuses and so on. The more we can raise, the more we can do.”

The annual event, now in its second year, is organised by a variety of groups in Bridlington including the Royal Naval Association, Royal Engineers Association and Bridlington Town Council.

However Councillor Liam Dealtry says the event, run on a shoestring budget of only £500, is in need of funding if it is to continue to expand next year.

He said: “I think the town council needs to be involved in community events and if we are going to go bigger and better next year like I hope we will need to get more funding. We need around £15,000 to put a decent event on.

“Everyone gives their time free of charge but we can only keep asking people to come out free of charge so many times.

“I would like to thank Mixed Man entertainment, George Hayes, Stevie Lee and Nicole, Glen Booth, Ebony and Chris Johnson, 252 Air Training Cops, Humberside and South Yorkshire Army Cadet Force and Humberside Police.”

The day is a celebration of the sacrifices and dedication of the British armed forces, past and present starting with a parade from Station Approach. Leading this year’s parade was a piper from the Humberside and South Yorkshire Army Cadet Force and a drummer from the 252 Air Training Corps.

David Standaloft, chair of the RBL’s Bridlington branch, said: “Those kids were absolutely brilliant. You could pay thousands for a big band, but these were local and that is what this is all about – people from the town coming down and celebrating the day.

“There are still some D-Day veterans living in Bridlington and for those who couldn’t make it on the march, they were waiting for us at Alderson House where we saluted them.

“These are people that have been though hell and back; we are not just talking Afghanistan, we are talking conflicts over the past 70-years. It is important to recognise what people have done.

“It is also important to show the other side of what the military does. The day is all about fun. That is the main point of Armed Forces Day, it is a day to look at the light-hearted side of the armed forces.”

This year entertainment included a parachute display on Bridlington’s South Beach, along with a demonstration by the RAF’s Search and Rescue Helicopter. In addition, music from a variety of entertainers including keyboard player George Hayes, filled the fair at Alderson House, in South Marine Drive.

Mayor of Bridlington Councillor Shelagh Finlay was present, along with Town Crier David Hinde who officially opened the festivities at Alderson House.

Coun Finlay said: “It was absolutely marvellous, we had a lovely turn out for the parade lots of people came out to applaud the veterans as they marched past.

“I think it is important for people just to remember that we do have a lot of veterans who live in Bridlington and especially this year being the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the 100th anniversary since World War one.

“We would like to build on the success of Armed Forces Day and perhaps make it bigger next year.”