Fringe Box



Opinion: Armed Forces Day

Published on: 7 Oct, 2014
Updated on: 7 Oct, 2014
Cllr Matt Furniss

Cllr Matt Furniss

Matt Furniss, Conservative lead councillor for transport, infrastructure and environment and borough councillor for Christchurch ward was asked why, in his view, the suspension of the GBC sponsorship policy is necessary. This is what he wrote…

Armed Forces Day, formerly Veterans’ Day, is held annually on the last Saturday in June to celebrate and commemorate the service of men and women in the British Armed Forces. It is marked by a series of activities across the UK, with one town or city being chosen as the location for a National Armed Forces Day event.

This year I presented the Guildford bid to host in 2015 to the Ministry of Defence which was ultimately successful.

Opinion Logo 2Guildford has strong historic and present day links with the armed forces and National Armed Forces Day would give our residents and others in Surrey, and beyond, an unparalleled opportunity to show their appreciation for serving and former armed forces personnel and to remember the sacrifices they made and continue to make.

The timing of Armed Forces Day in 2015 is particularly poignant, being the first that coincides with the centenary commemorations of the First World War. The centenary will cause many residents to reflect on the events of the First World War and the experiences of men and women here and overseas.

We and many other representatives of the local community signed a community covenant with representatives of the armed forces at a ceremony at the Army Training Centre Pirbright in April 2013. We believe that hosting National Armed Forces Day will give our residents an unparalleled opportunity to show their appreciation for serving and former Armed Forces personnel. This underpins the core statement of mutual support between our civilian and local Armed Forces communities set out in our covenant.

As it is a local event put on by the people of Guildford to thank the Armed Forces for their hard work, we are seeking local support to help with the events.

Armed Forces Day is not just about the serving personnel. It is also about the families who support their loved ones and the hardships they too face in order for the armed forces to carry out their roles.

This is why we are providing not only concessions through the business community in the town for Armed Forces personnel to thank them but also events aimed for families.

We estimate based on the experience of others that have held the event that hosting this prestigious event in Guildford would bring over £1 million into the local economy. It would also attract extensive national and regional media coverage and publicity, thereby promoting Guildford as an attractive visitor destination across the UK.

Armed Forces Day flag 2As part of our bid we are seeking local British companies to help fund the event to reduce the cost to the taxpayer and naturally it will be companies associated or involved with the UK’s armed forces.

Military charities will be invited to take part and demonstrate their support and work they do for serving and veteran personnel.

I aim with my team to deliver the best possible day as hosts of Armed Forces Day 2015 to the UK armed forces and show the hospitality of the Guildford residents to thank the hard work and sacrifice they undertake on our behalf.

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