Bangor to host Armed Forces Day next month

Bangor hosts Armed Forces Day on Saturday, June 24
Bangor hosts Armed Forces Day on Saturday, June 24

A free event to mark Armed Forces Day in Northern Ireland will take place next month in Co Down.

Bangor will host the prestigious regional showcase of all things military with a Spitfire display being one of the highlights.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to view a Jetlev flyer and specialised military vehicles up close, and watch as the army go head-to-head in a tug-of-war.

Ards and North Down Borough Council will host the national event – which is supported by Tourism Ireland – on Saturday, June 24.

It will give visitors an insight into the work of the armed services and also celebrate and honour those who serve.

The event starts at 10.50am with the official regional Armed Forces Day military parade through Bangor town centre, incorporating a special drumhead service and flag raising.

UTV presenter Paul Clarke will act as compere and will talk visitors through the programme which will include musical performances from the Band of the Royal Irish, Band of the Irish Guards and the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Dragoon Guards.

The event will close in style with a beating retreat in the McKee Clock Arena.

Northern Ireland Armed Forces Day will be celebrated on the same weekend as the local council’s popular maritime Sea Bangor Festival during which sister ships Lady Avenel and La Malouine will sit on Eisenhower Pier alongside a naval P2000.

Alderman Deborah Girvan, mayor of Ards and North Down, said: “It is fitting given the area’s close affinity with the Armed Forces and its rich military history through the likes of Colonel Paddy Blair Mayne and Major General Rollo Gillespie of Comber who fought in India.

“The event attracts thousands of visitors from across Northern Ireland and beyond every year and I am very much looking forward to welcoming day trippers and tourists to our borough.”

The senior military officer in Northern Ireland, Brigadier Andrew Roe of 38 (Irish) Brigade, said: “The armed services not only have a long history across Ards and North Down but today enjoy huge support for regulars, reservists, veterans and families with enormous engagement across the sea, army, air and combined cadets.

“We look at the support for reservists in Bangor for the combat engineers, in Newtownards for the artillery, in Holywood for the UK’s only reserves fuel supply regiment as well as the Royal Marines Reserve. Holywood is also home currently for 1 Scots who have not only undertaken arduous operational and training commitments around the world but also humanitarian intervention in the likes of Sierra Leone.”

For more information visit ardsandnorthdown.com.