Thousands enjoy Armed Forces Day celebration in Coleraine
Sat, June 23, 2018
Coleraine has welcomed thousands of visitors to the town’s first regional Armed Forces Day celebration.
The event on Saturday (June 23rd) also attracted a number of high profile guests including the Rt. Hon. Tobias Ellwood MP, the UK Government Minister for Defence People and Veterans along with the world-renowned Band of the Royal Marines.
The Defence Minister enjoyed a whistle-stop tour of the event which included a visit to the Royal Navy P2000 vessel docked on the River Bann and the hugely impressive Challenger 2 tank which was making a rare appearance here.
Amid blue skies and sunshine, the day began with a military parade featuring up to 1200 personnel from the Armed Services alongside military bands. The spectacle received a rousing reception from the large crowds which lined the route before a time of reflection during a Drumhead Service at the War Memorial.
At Christie Park, the public enjoyed a fun-filled afternoon of activities and live entertainment including a parachute display into the River Bann from the Silver Stars.
In the town centre, highlights included performances by military bands and a showcase parade from the Band of the Royal Marines who helped to bring the day to a close with a memorable Beating Retreat filled with marching music and military pageantry.
Speaking afterwards, Deputy Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Councillor Trevor Clarke said: “This was a fantastic occasion for Coleraine and it certainly will remain a highlight of my term as Deputy Mayor. The welcome given to the parade as it moved through the town was a fabulous way for the public to show their appreciation to our armed forces past and present. Armed Forces Day is all about giving thanks to service personnel and we certainly achieved this in Coleraine. I would like to thank everyone, especially our service personnel, veterans and their families who helped to make it such a success.
“The town centre benefited from a celebratory atmosphere throughout the day and we were delighted to see so many people enjoying themselves and making the most of this unique occasion.”
After a very busy day, Coleraine also played host to the Rhythm of the Bann music and dance festival on Saturday evening. It featured The Leading Ladies, Loughguile School of Irish Dance, Causeway Traditional Group and the Forces Sweetheart before the Band of the Royal Marines brought the evening to a thrilling close with a stunning one-hour long performance.
The Armed Forces Day event received financial support from The Honourable The Irish Society and the Ministry for Defence.
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