Armed Forces Day: Parade roars with pride as hundreds of bikers join services for seafront display in South Shields
A calvacade of bikes ensured Armed Forces Day in South Shields got off to a loud and proud start.
The Bad-Landers Motorcycle Club worked together with sponsor Hells Angels Tyne and Wear and a coalition of 30 other clubs to stage the event in conjunction with South Tyneside Council.
It started with a parade of 500 bikes from Gypsies Green to Bents Park followed by a march of the Armed Forces before the Mayor of South Tyneside Councillor Norman Dick and other dignitaries.
An inspection and a short service was then held on the field.
A further 200 more bikes were expected to arrive during the day through the Patriots Motorcycle Club, which brings together serving and ex-forces members.
The event also includes live music from a range of bands, including Houghton-le-Spring Pipe Band and Westoe Brass Band, a display of vintage cars, inflatables, stalls and live music.
It is the 11th year the South Shields-based Bad-Landers have run the festival.
Chairman Joe Fairrie said: “It is an absolute pleasure to put on this event.
“It is great that we have got the support of the biking community and from the local community.
“It helps raise awareness of what the military do for our country in all parts of the world and shows our support for the charities in the best way we can.
“It’s important that we always remember they are out there keeping us safe, the Armed Forces past and present.”
Coun Dick, who served for 10 years in the Light Infantry, said “I’m very very proud to be able to stand up and take the salute because if I wasn’t doing that, I would be joining in with it.
“The turn out is fantastic, the community has done them proud, and it’s great walking round seeing all the different organisations, it really brings people together.”
Among those to watch the event was Joyce Graham, 65, from South Shields, who said: “It just gives you goose pimples seeing it and thinking about all the people who have lost their lives and are serving.
“I think it does the town proud.”