Hadleigh is due to host Suffolk’s annual Armed Forces Week celebrations next month, providing opportunity for the county’s residents to show their appreciation.
Armed Forces Week is marked by Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils each year as part of their continued commitment to The Armed Forces Covenant, which offers practical support to serving personnel, veterans and their families.
Babergh District Council also has the honour of hosting this year’s celebrations on behalf of Suffolk, following the cancellation of scheduled events in June 2020 due to safety concerns arising from the peak of the pandemic.
While the need for public safety is still very much at the forefront of organisers’ minds, the council hopes that plans for next month’s Armed Forces Week can go ahead, subject to the further easing of lockdown.
The week will enable Suffolk residents to pay tribute to our armed forces community, who have continued to provide national security, while also playing a vital role in supporting public services and our communities in response to Covid-19.
Although final plans are reliant on the Government confirming that current Covid restrictions can be lifted on June 21, it is hoped that the week will include a free community thank you event in Hadleigh, organised by Babergh District and Hadleigh Town Councils in collaboration with representatives from across the armed forces.
Assuming all goes to plan, the celebration would take place in the Market Square at 4.30pm on Thursday June 24, with a strong military presence, as well as performances by local bands and dance troupes – and Covid secure measures in place to protect participants and public.
There will be further opportunity to show thanks to the county’s service men and women at a summer fete, hosted by the Royal British Legion, provisionally planned for Armed Forces Day itself, Saturday June 26.
Local residents, and visitors to Hadleigh, will also be able to pause for reflection at the town’s Armed Forces Day flag, which will be raised at the war memorial throughout the week.
More details about Armed Forces Week, as well as first hand accounts of what it means to serving personnel, will feature on Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils’ website and social media channels over the coming weeks.
Cllr Derek Davis, cabinet member for Communities for Babergh District Council commented: “It’s an honour for Hadleigh to be able to host Armed Forces Week, showcasing all the town has to offer, while more importantly raising awareness of our military residents and the sacrifices that they and their families continue to make.
“I’m sure Babergh’s communities will want to join me in thanking all those who have selflessly given years of their life to help keep us safe – and we are determined to find a Covid secure way for them to do so, following the disappointment of having to postpone last year’s events.”
Local shops will also be joining the celebrations with a free Armed Forces Week themed shop window trail – with prizes available for those entering the educational competition – encouraging visitors to some of Hadleigh’s smaller businesses.
Residents who are unable to attend the events in person are also able to raise a salute to troops, veterans, cadets and military families on Armed Forces Day – by sharing a photo or video on social media, using the hashtag #SaluteOurForces.
Cllr Julie Flatman, cabinet member for Communities for Mid Suffolk District Council said: “Mid Suffolk is proud to have one the military’s largest UK airfields, Wattisham, on our doorstep, and I know how important Armed Forces Week is to our district’s communities.
“Our council is enormously grateful for the unwavering commitment of all our service men and women, both past and present.
“Please join us in paying to tribute to their hard work and dedication, whether it be in person at one of the planned events, or by joining in with virtual celebrations.”