South Shields Armed Forces Day roars back in style with huge motorbike and military parade after Covid-19 hiatus
Armed Forces Day roared back to South Shields in impressive fashion after the coronavirus pandemic, with a huge cavalcade of motorbikes and military parade.
More than 500 motorbikes and scooters kicked off the event on Sunday by riding along the sea front in front of the mayor and other civic dignitaries.
They were followed by a smart parade of volunteer soldiers, veterans and cadets into Bents Park for a motorcycle exhibition and family fun day attended by hundreds of people.
It was the first time the event, organised by the Bad-Landers Motorcycle Club in partnership with South Tyneside Council, had been held on such a scale since before Covid.
The day is set to have raised thousands of pounds for armed services charities.
Stuart Rogerson, chairman of the Bad-Landers MCC, said: "The whole community and bikers from the whole of the North East come to this.
“Over the last 15 years we have raised almost £95,000 which has been donated to the military charities for the deserving lads and women who served the country.
"A lot of the bikers are ex-military and want to be part of this event and it’s fabulous.”
The parade, accompanied by Houghton-le-Spring Pipe Band, then moved into Bents Park for a short service and two-minute silence led by Father Mark Mawhinney of St Hilda’s Church.
He said: “Showing support for the armed forces provides a much-valued morale boost for the troops and their families, towards the work of the Royal Navy, The British Army and the Royal Air Force Around the world.”
He encouraged people to also show their support over the next week by posting videos or photos on social media using the hashtag #ArmedForcesDay.
The Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Pat Hay, and Her Majesty’s Deputy Lord Lieutenant Barry Speker inspected the troops.
Cllr Hay said the day was a fitting tribute to the borough’s Armed Forces community.
She said: “I was delighted to see so many people turn out in force to celebrate and enjoy a fun-filled family day out while supporting our military personnel, past and present.
“It is so important to show our troops that people do value their commitment and once again, the people of South Tyneside didn’t disappoint on what has become one of the most popular and poignant events in our calendar.”