Blackpool Armed Forces and Veterans’ Week
Blackpool Armed Forces and Veterans Week is Blackpool’s celebratory event that culminates in National Armed Forces Day. An annual event which was first observed in 2006, Blackpool celebrates the contributions of its veterans and present serving military, who have been a part of the British Armed forces.
Past Prime Minister Gordon Brown initiated the plans for a Veterans’ Day celebration so that the contribution of the armed forces to the national security would never be forgotten, and would be remembered. The last Saturday in June was chosen as Armed Forces Day, to honour the link with the investiture of the first Victoria Cross that was awarded in Hyde Park in 1857.
Blackpool’s National Veterans’ Week
Each Armed Forces Day is held in a different UK location, and in 2008 Blackpool hosted the event, which was attended by the Duchess of Cornwall, “Camilla” and decorated military officers. Henry Allingham, who was at the time the oldest surviving World War I veteran, was also at the event, held at the Blackpool Cenotaph heritage building.
Each event is used to give out medals of honour and badges to the armed forces, and this took place in the Tower Ballroom. There was a Veteran’s parade and a display of abseiling down the Blackpool Tower. Other highlights included the Red Devils parachute team display at night and a firework display over the North Pier.
Next years Blackpool Armed Forces and Veterans’ Week looks to be packed with events including a special illumination on the Blackpool Cenotaph each evening as a dedication of images to those brave men and women who have fought for this nation.
During the week long celebrations, Blackpool host a special 1940s tea-room experience in the Tower Ballroom, with a an Afternoon Tea Dance; the Saturday Night Big Band Dance in the deluxe surroundings of the ballroom; the Sunday morning service followed by the golf challenge for all service persons and the Veteran’s and Armed Forces parade. The free Music for Heroes concert will again be on, with the special This is Music Night: Friday Night BBC2 live broadcast in honour of the Veterans and Armed Forces.
Choosing to celebrate Armed Forces Day for longer than a day; Blackpool Armed Forces and Veteran’s Week embodies the spirit of the place, where people feel that proper tribute needs to be paid to those who’ve risked their lives for the peace and security of Britain.