'Amazing' Armed Forces Day event attracts fine turnout

Sgt Major Colin Thackery special drumhead service Lowestoft Armed Forces Day 2022

Sgt Major Colin Thackery ahead of the special drumhead service at the Lowestoft Armed Forces Day 2022. - Credit: Steve Ardley

Organisers have hailed the success of a popular event as hundreds of people turned out to recognise "our amazing armed forces."

Fun for all the family took centre stage as the 16th Lowestoft Armed Forces Day was held on Royal Green, Lowestoft on Saturday (June 25).

Although the blustery conditions led to the cancellations of the Battle of Britain Memorial Fly Past and a landing from the RAF Parachute Display Team, there was plenty to entertain the large crowds - with an estimated 2,000 people attending at the start of the event.

Displays, stalls, marching bands, displays, special attractions and live music featured alongside poignant tributes to the fallen, as military heroes were saluted for serving their country. 

Men, women and veterans of all the armed forces united alongside dignitaries, friends and family in celebrating "the Armed Forces - past, present and future."

The 16th Lowestoft Armed Forces Day was held on Royal Green, Lowestoft

The 16th Lowestoft Armed Forces Day was held on Royal Green, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mark Boggis

People queued up to catch a glimpse of a full-size replica Spitfire, with large applause echoing out across the seafront as 2019 Britain's Got Talent winner - Chelsea pensioner Sgt Major Colin Thackery - performed.

Sgt Major Colin Thackery with Steve Ardley

Sgt Major Colin Thackery with Steve Ardley. - Credit: Steve Ardley

Duane Ashworth, chairman of Lowestoft Armed Forces Day, said: "It's great to be back and everything has been fantastic.

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"It has been amazing.

"The public has been superb, even though two of our bigger attractions could not happen due to the weather.

the 16th Lowestoft Armed Forces Day was held on Royal Green, Lowestoft

The 16th Lowestoft Armed Forces Day was held on Royal Green, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mark Boggis

"Sadly that is out of our control - but it was a massive coup to have had the Battle of Britain Memorial Fly Past and RAF Parachute Display Team accepting our offers to attend.

"They would have been awesome, but the weather put a stop to it this year - however, they have both said that they are ready for next year!"

Dignitaries including Lee Holloway - Armed Forces Commissioner for Suffolk, Waveney MP Peter Aldous and mayor of Lowestoft Alan Green all attended.

Sgt Major Colin Thackery with Waveney MP Peter Aldous

Sgt Major Colin Thackery with Waveney MP Peter Aldous at the 16th Lowestoft Armed Forces Day on Royal Green, Lowestoft - Credit: Steve Ardley

Mr Ashworth added: "At the start we had 2,000 people here and the numbers have been constant all day.

"Every charity stall and organisation has had a really fantastic day and they've been supported really well.

the 16th Lowestoft Armed Forces Day was held on Royal Green, Lowestoft

The 16th Lowestoft Armed Forces Day was held on Royal Green, Lowestoft. - Credit: Mark Boggis

"You could see the emotions on people's faces during the special drumhead service.

"All the volunteers and the committee have been fantastic, with special thanks to main event organiser Ian Wall."

The committee will now work with Lowestoft Town Council in submitting a bid - as for 2023 they hope to become the National Event "which would be huge achievement for the town", according to organisers.