South Tyneside pays tribute on Armed Forces Day

South Tyneside has paid tribute to its fighting men and women past and present.

The Borough marked Armed Forces Day with a colourful military parade and service this morning followed by a family fun day at Bents Park on South Shields seafront.

Troops ready for inspection

Troops ready for inspection

The event was organised by the Bad-Landers Motorcycle Club in partnership with South Tyneside Council.

Around 500 motorcyclists kick started the day with a special cavalcade from Sunderland along to Bents Park, followed by a military parade, an inspection of the troops and an open air church service, which ended with a two minutes silence and the National Anthem.

Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Olive Punchion was accompanied by Mayoress Mrs Mary French, Deputy Lieutenant for Tyne and Wear, Colonel Ann Clouston and High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear, Lt General Robin Vaughan Brims.

"It was a very proud moment for me to represent the Borough at the Armed Forces event and it was a huge honour to inspect the soldiers," said Coun Punchion

Civic dignitaries assembled at Bent's Park

Civic dignitaries assembled at Bent's Park

"The day was a fitting tribute to South Tyneside’s servicemen and women and the wider Armed Forces community, and we were delighted to see so many people turn out in force and join in with the celebrations.

"It has grown to become one of the most popular and poignant events in our annual calendar, giving us all a chance to support and show respect for our soldiers and to recognise the enormous commitment and sacrifices that they make.

"With a wide range of family entertainment and the Bad-Landers’ exhibition of bikes, scooters, classic cars and military vehicles, it has been a fantastic event for a great cause."

The fun day included live bands, stalls, face painting, street entertainment, fun fair rides and motorbike and scooter custom shows among the activities and entertainment on offer. There was also an exhibition of motorbikes, scooters, classic cars and military vehicles.

The event was supported by the 205 Battery RA (V), Royal British Legion and Durham Light Infantry Association. Proceeds from the day will go to Support Our Soldiers and other armed forces charities.

After the service, the Bad-Landers Motorcycle Club in conjunction with Arnold Clark, made a special presentation to the Support Our Soldiers charity with the gift of a vehicle to support the volunteers with their work over the next three years.

Organiser Joe Fairrie, of the Bad-Landers Motorcycle Club, said: "It was fantastic to see so many people coming out today to support our Armed Forces. We think there have been more than 7,000 people here today, which is amazing.

We also always get a huge amount of support from the biking community from around the North East and the money raised on the day goes a long way to supporting military charities.

"But it’s about much more than that. It’s about remembering and acknowledging that our armed forces risk their lives to keep us safe.”

Coun Ed Malcolm, Chairman of the South Tyneside Armed Forces Forum, said: "Armed Forces Day helps us to raise awareness of the contribution made by the armed forces

community, from currently serving troops to service families, veterans and cadets.

"It is a fitting tribute and an ideal opportunity for us all to come together to celebrate our services community and to recognise the commitment and sacrifices that they make."

South Tyneside’s Armed Forces Day is held a week earlier to avoid clashing with other events in the North East on national Armed Forces Day, which is Saturday 24 June.