PICTURE: Attention! Armed Forces Day a big success

DM17629927a.jpg Armed Forces Day, Littlehampton. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170624-234634008
DM17629927a.jpg Armed Forces Day, Littlehampton. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170624-234634008

It is a highlight of the town’s calendar – and this year, the Armed Forces Day event did not disappoint.

Thousands of people congregated at the Seafront Greens in Littlehampton on Saturday to be wowed by displays from land and sea.

DM17629951a.jpg Armed Forces Day, Littlehampton. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170624-234645008

DM17629951a.jpg Armed Forces Day, Littlehampton. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170624-234645008

Billy Blanchard-Cooper, the mayor of Littlehampton, addressed the crowd and welcomed people to the day during a service on East Green.

Speaking after the event, he said: “I love it; being part of it is an honour.

“As far as I’m concerned I may be mayor but I’m also just Joe Public – it is the guys on our armed services that are the special ones.

“To be able to show my appreciation for them on behalf of the town feels amazing.”

DM17629965a.jpg Armed Forces Day, Littlehampton. Army cadets. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170624-234707008

DM17629965a.jpg Armed Forces Day, Littlehampton. Army cadets. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170624-234707008

Soaring through the skies, the showstopping event of the day was a breath-taking aerial display featuring a T-6 Texan Warbird, as well as a flypast of BBMF Dakotas, which transported soliders during the Second World War.

The other popular attractions were the agile dogs of the Essex Dog Display Team, which entertained onlookers with their skills.

There was also a display of battle tactics with Daimler Ferrets and Saracens armoured cars, complete with loud bangs and smoke, and a Royal British Legion Riders motorbike display.

The mayor spent most of the day speaking to residents and hearing what they thought of the event.

DM17629978a.jpg Armed Forces Day, Littlehampton. Air cadets. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170624-234718008

DM17629978a.jpg Armed Forces Day, Littlehampton. Air cadets. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170624-234718008

He said: “It is great for the town because it builds community spirit and gives organisations a chance to promote themselves and get new members, but it is also about what it means nationally.

“It is highlighting the work of our armed forces; it is making people aware they are not just here for war but to keep the peace; it is recognising the troops we have lost in the past, the ones that are currently serving – which I can relate to, because I have a nephew in the army – and the armed forces of the future.”

Crowds also flocked to an exhibition of military vehicles, as well as performances and displays from local cadet and scout groups.

A charity fair featuring services’ charities and local uniformed organisations also provided the opportunity for some retail therapy.

DM17629989a.jpg Armed Forces Day, Littlehampton. Enthusiasts and visitors beside a model plane. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170624-234739008

DM17629989a.jpg Armed Forces Day, Littlehampton. Enthusiasts and visitors beside a model plane. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170624-234739008

A collection was held during the day to raise money for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

Littlehampton Town Council joined forces with Harbour Park amusement park and the Ministry of Defence for the annual event.

DM17629998a.jpg Armed Forces Day, Littlehampton. Rowan aged 4 and brother Tobias aged 2. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170624-234133008

DM17629998a.jpg Armed Forces Day, Littlehampton. Rowan aged 4 and brother Tobias aged 2. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170624-234133008