Friday, 27 June 2014

Crawley Observer Column 25th June 2014

This week I have written about Armed Forces Day in my Crawley Observer Column, which is below in blue. I was pleased to be at the flag raising at Crawley Town Hall on Monday morning of the Armed Forces Flag, and then to see at County Hall in Chichester that it is also flying there all week too. Hopefully the rain will hold off for Saturday morning. The photo is one I took in June 2011 when the Princess of Wales Regiment had a homecoming march in Crawley.

Princess of Wales Regiment in Crawley High Street - June 2011

"This coming Saturday the 28th June is Armed Forces Day.  Across the UK, events will be taking place to mark the day with the national event taking place in Stirling. Formally known as Veterans Day, Armed Forces Day is increasingly becoming a fixture of British life that unites the nation.      
The reasons why Armed Forces Day was established are very laudable. It is absolutely right to help raise public awareness of the invaluable contribution made to our country, both by those who currently serve and those who have previously served in Her Majesty's Armed Forces. I also very much welcome the opportunity for the nation to be able to show support for the men and women who make up our Armed Forces community.

Here in Crawley, our own event will be in Queens Square on Saturday from 10am until 12.30pm. There will be displays and demonstrations from cadets, serving troops and from veterans. There are also going to be activities such as a climbing wall, obstacle course and camouflage face painting. I very much look forward to attending.
The last few years have seen a strengthening of Crawley’s links with the Armed Forces. Three years ago this month, I was pleased to attend the homecoming march through the town centre of 250 soldiers from The Princess of Wales Regiment who had recently returned from Afghanistan.

At Crawley Borough Council, we ensured that members of the Armed Forces, whose work takes them out of the area, are not disadvantaged by local connection rules governing the allocation of social housing. Last year, we followed on from West Sussex County Council in 2012, in signing the Armed Forces Community Covenant, which encourages support for the Armed Forces Community who work and reside in Crawley. For both Crawley Borough Council and West Sussex County Council, it presents an opportunity to bring knowledge, experience and expertise to bear on the provision of help, advice and services to members of our Armed Forces Community when they need it - a community who is always there when their country needs them." 

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