Thousands turn out for Armed Forces Day celebrations in South Tyneside
Huge crowds gathered at the seafront as South Tyneside held its Armed Forces Day celebrations.
Thousands attended for a military parade and service followed by a family fun day in Bents Park, South Shields.
The increasingly popular annual event began with a special cavalcade by more than 200 motorcyclists along Sea Road before troops marched into the park for an open air church service, led by Rev Paul Kennedy, which ended with a two minute silence and the national anthem.
The Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Alan Smith, and Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, Mrs Susan Winfield OBE, carried out the inspection of the troops.
The Bad-Landers Motorcycle Club presented the Mayor with the Wreath of Respect, which commemorates those who died in the First World War, and which is currently touring the military related events and events in the UK and overseas.
The Mayor said: "It was an honour to represent the Borough at this important annual event which is a fitting tribute to South Tyneside’s servicemen and women.
"The Mayoress and I were delighted to see so many people turn out in force to join in with the celebrations and support the armed forces community.
"I was honoured to carry out the inspection of the troops along with the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear and to be presented with the Wreath of Respect commemorating the outbreak of the First World War.
"The day was a great success with a whole host of family entertainment and activities for all ages to enjoy."
The event, which is organised by the Bad-Landers in partnership with the council, raises funds for military charities and awareness of the work of the Armed Forces.
Coun Ed Malcolm, South Tyneside Council’s Armed Forces Champion, said: "Armed Forces Day is a fantastic opportunity for local people to pay tribute to and remember the sacrifices made by our troops.
"This year’s event was particularly special as the public were able to view the Wreath of Respect which honours the memories of all those who have given so much in the past 100 years and continue to do so today.”
"It was wonderful to see that so many people came along to support worthwhile military causes and show active serving personnel, veterans and their families that we appreciate the work they do."
The fun day featured a range of entertainment including live music and street entertainers plus exhibitions of classic cars, scooters, motorbikes and military vehicles.
Bad-landers chairman Joe Fairrie said: "We were honoured to be able to showcase the Wreath of Respect which is a national symbol of the country’s remembrance of World War One and all of those who continue to make sacrifices in defence of their county today.
"I am pleased that once again South Tyneside has come out to support our troops past and present in addition to raising vital funds for military charities.”