Time for virtual salute to our armed forces

Cllr Bob Stevens and Warwickshire's Lord Lieutenant Tim Cox. Photo submitted, taken before current restrictions.

TRIBUTES to our armed forces began in Warwickshire today, Monday, when the Armed Forces Day flag was hoisted in Shire Hall.

This year, due to Covid-19 restrictions, members of the county council were not able to attend.

Armed Forces Day takes place this Saturday, 27th June – the annual event that gives communities a chance to show support for the men and women of the armed forces including currently serving troops, service families, reservists, veterans and cadets.

Cllr Bob Stevens is chair of the Sub Regional Armed Forces Community Covenant Partnership and acknowledged that while the plans had to reflect the current crisis, there would still be recognition of the armed services’ role.

He said: The flag raising ceremony is a special occasion to honour the sacrifice made by our armed forces past and present, and their tireless work to keep us safe.

“This year, given the current pandemic restrictions we couldn’t be present during the ceremony, but it does not stop us honouring and supporting Armed Forces Week. We are continuing to work hard with our partners in the Armed Forces Community Covenant for Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull to provide services and assistance to armed forces personnel and their families.

“A range of events are taking place, digitally this year due to Covid-19 restrictions, and we hope as many people as possible participate and enjoy the online events.”

Lord Lieutenant Tim Cox, added: “Warwickshire County Council is among local authorities and organisations looking after famous landmarks up and down the country, all raising the flag ahead of Armed Forces Day.

“This year’s Armed Forces Day celebrations are different, and I am happy that we can honour our serving troops, service families, reservists, veterans and cadets through digital media.

“Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, our military services have been active in supporting our shielding hubs, setting up and running mobile testing units and much more.

“Now, more than ever, I feel that we must be grateful to our Armed Forces and I am inviting everyone to join us in thanking them for everything that they have done.”

All physical Armed Forces Day and Reserve Day events have been cancelled but you can support the following:

– On Tuesday, 23rd June from 2-2.30pm, Lt Col Matthew Longcake, Commanding Officer of 37 Signal Regiment Redditch, will give an insight into the work of how local reserves units have stepped up in the response to Covid-19 and how they have played their part in Op Rescript.

– On Wednesday, 24th June from 2pm-3pm Armed Forces will provide a webinar, giving more information to those who are interested in finding out about the Royal Navy Reserves, Army Reserves or Royal Air Force Reserves. This special event will feature presentations from the Royal Navy, Army and the RAF.

– On Thursday, 25th June from 2.30pm-3.30pm there will be an “Army Engagement Team live virtual broadcast event”.

For information on events taking place on Armed Forces Day, visit the Armed Forces Day website: Armed Forces Day events Warwickshire or the Armed Forces Community Covenant (AFCC) Website: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/armedforcesnews