The Armed Forces Day flag is flying in South Ribble this week as the borough pays tribute to the brave service men and women who work to protect us home and abroad.
Observed annually, Armed Forces Day this year takes place on Saturday 27 June.
In the week running up to this – Armed Forces Week – celebrations are held, and dozens of organisations show their support, either by flying the flag or by holding ceremonies.
Unfortunately, due to coronavirus, many local authorities have decided to cancel their events.
South Ribble Borough Council, however, decided to continue with its customary flag-raising event as planned – but instead of inviting councillors, cadets, troops and residents to attend, the council live-streamed proceedings on Facebook.
The small, socially distanced council contingent featured the Mayor of South Ribble, Councillor Harry Hancock; the Mayoress of South Ribble, Marion Hancock, Charles Hadcock DL, Vice-Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire; and Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, Councillor Paul Foster.
Councillor Harry Hancock, Mayor of South Ribble, said: “Normally, we would have had representatives from all uniformed organisations; members of the public; the school council; officers; and councillors all attending this ceremony, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we decided to live stream the video on Facebook so that residents could watch the event from the safety of their own home.
“This council is delighted to support Armed Forces Day 2020 and to fly this specially commissioned flag. This is an opportunity for the whole nation to show its appreciation for the contribution made by all those who serve or have served in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. We fly this flag with pride.”
Charles Hadcock DL, Vice-Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, said: “Armed Forces Day is a chance to show our support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community; from those currently serving, to service families, veterans and cadets. During the pandemic, the armed forces have been called upon to step in to support the NHS and other essential services. The flag-raising event serves to underline the respect we have for all servicemen and women and is an opportunity to thank those who serve today and inspire those in training for service in the future.”
Councillor Alan Ogilvie, Deputy Armed Forces Champion at South Ribble
Borough Council, said: “Armed Forces Day is an official reminder, once a year, giving us all the opportunity to recognise and show our gratitude for the wonderful job all our Armed Forces personnel do, each and every day throughout the year.
“Their presence, both here in the UK and where needed across the globe, in
providing safety and security is something we should all cherish.
“Most of us will not be thinking of this during our busy day-to-day lives and so Armed Forces Day allows us an opportunity to remind ourselves of their great contribution and to show our full support.”
Councillor Derek Forrest, Armed Forces Champion at South Ribble Borough
Council, said: “As Armed Forces Champions, we have an important role to play in ensuring current and former soldiers are properly cared for and celebrated in our community. “Roughly 25% of the armed forces come from the North West, and when they’ve finished their service, they return and take up work or retire in the area.
“That’s where we come in – because as armed forces champions, we act as the sort of rubbing strip between the retired service men and women and housing, health and all the various services that the borough needs to provide.
“As part of the Armed Forces Covenant, we have special arrangements for them so that they don’t have difficulty in finding these services.”
You can find out more about how to get involved in marking Armed Forces Day yourself by visiting the website: www.armedforcesday.org.uk/
One of the hashtags on social media this year is #SaluteOurForces – take a photo of you and your friends saluting our Armed Forces and tweet it to @ArmedForcesDay using the hashtag #SaluteOurForces, or alternatively you can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further details here: https://www.armedforcesday.org.uk/get-involved/saluteourforces
Submitted by South Ribble Borough Council