Hundreds of people gathered at Torridge’s annual Flag Raising Ceremony in Victoria Park on Monday to commemorate Armed Forces Week 2019.
The event coincided with week-long celebrations around the Country in honour of Servicemen and Woman both past and present. The events are a celebration and recognition of the contribution and sacrifices made by all members of our armed forces, the Merchant Navy and their families in serving their Country.
A procession from Bideford Quay was led by Bideford Town Band and included; veterans, serving representatives from various branches of the Armed Forces, cadets, members of the Scouting Association, youth and sports groups.
The programme included an opening address by the Councillor David Brenton, Chair of Torridge District Council and prayers led by the Reverend Robin Pirrie. East-the-Water, St Mary’s and West Croft School choirs all sang beautifully adding extra emotion to an already moving ceremony.
This year commemorated the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. The South West was a hive of activity in the months leading up to the invasion and played a major role in D-Day preparations. Allied soldiers were billeted in local towns and trained on the beaches of Devon including Westward Ho!
Local resident Clifford Coates, a veteran of the D-Day landings, humbled the crowd with a moving Act of Remembrance.
Councillor David Brenton – Chair of Torridge District Council said:
“I would like to thank everyone for attending this year’s Armed Forces Day Flag Raising ceremony, and for showing their support and appreciation for the men and women that serve and their families and friends that give them incredible support.
The 75th Anniversary of D-Day made this an even more moving and poignant event to remember and honour our servicemen and woman both past and present.”
The event was supported by Torridge District Council, Bideford Town Council and Tesco.