Thousands to show support for Armed Forces past, present and future
Thousands of people are expected to gather in Edinburgh's city centre tomorrow (Saturday 26 June 2010) to pay tribute to the Armed Forces.
The second annual Armed Forces Day is being celebrated in towns and cities across the UK. On Saturday it will be revealed which UK city has been chosen to host the National Armed Forces Day in 2011 - and Edinburgh is in the running.
Edinburgh's 2010 Armed Forces Day events will commence at 1pm with a parade by currently serving military personnel, veterans and young cadets from Edinburgh Castle to the Mound, via the City Chambers and Waverley Bridge.
Members of the public will then be invited to take part in an afternoon of free events at the Ross Bandstand in West Princes Street Gardens. As well as refreshments and music, there will be stalls and information stands and plenty to amuse the kids, with an inflatable assault course, face painting and a bouncy castle.
This year, Babcock's Marine division at Rosyth have kindly sponsored the big screen, which will show films from each of the Armed Forces during the afternoon's events. Should Edinburgh be successful in their bid to host the National Armed Forces Day in 2011, Babcock will increase support to become main sponsors of the event.
The day will conclude with a Ceremony of Beating Retreat.
The Rt. Hon. George Grubb, Lord Lieutenant and Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, will be taking the salute during the parade. He will also give a speech at the Ross Bandstand.
He said: "This year's Armed Forces Day celebrations in the Capital look certain to repeat the great success of last year's event. We're expecting hundreds of veterans, serving personnel and young cadets to parade from Edinburgh Castle to Princes Street Gardens on Saturday 26 June, watched by friends and family. There we are putting on a series of fun and family-friendly events designed to pay tribute to those who have served, who are currently serving and who might one day serve their country. We are particularly grateful to Babcock for their generous sponsorship of the big screen, which will showcase films from each of the armed forces during the event. Edinburgh has a long and proud tradition of honouring its servicemen and women, so I'm sure this will be a wonderful and memorable occasion for everyone."
Chief of the General Staff, General Sir David Richards, will take the salute from the parading troops and veterans in Edinburgh. He said: "It's clear that Councils and communities across Scotland have made a tremendous effort to support Armed Forces Day, to provide celebrations and make this a day to remember. It's a fitting tribute from a nation whose serving personnel, veterans and war memorials are powerful testament to the extraordinary contribution of Scotland to our Armed Forces in years past and present. It means a great deal to us and I am immensely grateful.
"I visited Helmand earlier this week where, alongside many others, soldiers from the Scots Guards and 1 SCOTS in Edinburgh are currently operating. They are working closely with the Afghan national security forces, whose ever increasing contribution and improving performance signal genuine and continued progress towards a successful outcome for the Afghan people, our allies and ourselves. Other units and individuals recruited in Scotland - from all three Services - are preparing to deploy to Afghanistan later this year. All of them, wherever they are, truly appreciate the wonderful support that the people of Scotland are giving not only to them but also, just as importantly, to their families."
Mike Pettigrew, Managing Director - Warships, Babcock said: "We are delighted to be associated with Armed Forces Day given the close working relationship that we particularly have with the Royal Navy. Babcock is proud to support the men and women currently serving in all of our armed forces as well as our veterans who, with great justification, proudly march at these occasions.
"Should Edinburgh win the bid to host next year's event, we are happy to extend our sponsorship and assist Edinburgh in hosting a spectacular National Armed Forces Day in 2011."
Armed Forces Day 2010 - Edinburgh event details:
13:00 Armed Forces Day Parade will depart from Edinburgh Castle Esplanade and proceed down the Royal Mile, past the City Chambers and the Saluting Dais and down to Princes Street Gardens, halting at Mound Precinct, National Galleries.
14:00 The Ross Theatre in Princes Street Gardens will host:
Tea in the Marquees. A chance for members of the armed forces, veterans and the general public to mingle over a cuppa
Information stands will display information about Veterans Associations, the Armed Forces and Armed Forces Day.
Various activities will be taking place along in Princes Street Gardens throughout the afternoon, including an inflatable assault course, face painting and a bouncy castle.
Performances from the Royal Regiment of Scotland Band
14:15 Official Speeches
14:30 Military Music set at Ross Bandstand
16:30 Ceremony of Beating Retreat
ARMED FORCES DAY FLAG
The Armed Forces Day flag was raised at Edinburgh's City Chambers on Monday 21 June in a special ceremony involving serving personnel and veterans. It will fly until Sunday 27 June, the day after Armed Forces Day 2010. The flag was parachuted into Holyrood Park by the Golden Lions Scottish Infantry Parachute Display Team, before being transported up the Royal Mile in a vintage Army jeep. Lord Provost George Grubb then accepted the flag from members of the 3 Rifles Battlegroup, after which a piper played while the flag was hoisted on the City Chambers balustrade. The Lord Provost was joined for the flag raising by current military personnel, members of the Officers Training Corps and by veterans of the Armed Forces.
This year's Armed Forces Day celebrations in Edinburgh are being sponsored by Babcock International Group PLC, who have provided £7,000 towards the installation of a giant screen within Princes Street Gardens to show Armed Forces film footage.
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