THE FLAG of the Armed Forces has been raised in Leicester’s Town Hall Square, as the city gets ready for its Armed Forces Day parade on Saturday (24 June).
At around 12.15pm on Saturday, the 250-strong parade of service personnel, veterans, reservists and cadets will step off from the top of High Street near Jubilee Square and make its way to Green Dragon Square via High Street, the Clock Tower, Gallowtree Gate and Market Place South.
The Pipes and Drums of the Seaforth Highlanders will provide the music, while three dogs from the Defence Animal Training Centre will also join the parade.
On High Street, the salute will be taken by the Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire Mike Kapur OBE and Wing Commander Nicola Duncan MA RAF, who will be joined by the Lord Mayor of Leicester, Cllr Dr Susan Barton, and the Chairman of Leicestershire County Council, Dr Kevin Feltham.
A Drumhead Service – a traditional service held in the field, in which regimental drums are placed together to form an altar – will then take place in Green Dragon Square.
Crowds in Green Dragon Square will be entertained by music from the Salvation Army Band from around 12 noon, before the open-air Drumhead Service starts at 1pm.
Led by the Bishop of Loughborough, Saju Muthalaly, the 30-minute service will include a performance by the Cottesmore Military Wives Choir.
Visitors are advised that a planned fly-past by a Lancaster bomber from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will not now take place.
People will also be able to visit a number of military display stands on Humberstone Gate on Saturday morning.
The Lord Mayor of Leicester, Cllr Dr Susan Barton, is hoping that people will turn out in numbers on Saturday (24 June) to show their support.
“Let’s show our service men and women how much we appreciate them by lining the parade route on Saturday,” she said.
“Armed Forces Day is an important opportunity to show our support – and it’s also an opportunity to enjoy the spectacle of a military parade, right here, in our city centre.
“We are delighted to acknowledge the work of our armed forces, both past and present, and look forward to welcoming them to Leicester.”
Assistant city mayor Cllr Vi Dempster is the city council’s Armed Forces Champion.
“Both my parents served in the forces, so I know the sacrifices that our servicemen and women make to serve our country,” she said.
“In a city as diverse as Leicester, we don’t need reminding of the huge role played by our Commonwealth partners in various conflicts over the years.
“Armed Forces Week gives us an opportunity to show our gratitude to all of those brave men and women, from Britain and beyond, who continue to play such a vital role in the security of our country.”
Leicester has a longstanding relationship with local units of the armed forces, with both the Royal Lancers and Royal Anglian Regiments having been granted the freedom of the city of Leicester.
The city council is also a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant, which sets out the authority’s relationship with the armed forces, and the services available to current and former personnel and their families.
Leicester’s Armed Forces Day Parade and Service has been organised by Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council, the Lieutenancy Office, and Leicester Cathedral.
A short video, showing the flag-raising ceremony at Leicester Town Hall on Monday (19 June), is available here