Thousands enjoy Armed Forces Day 2018

20/06/2018, PR8826

​Thousands of people visited Pontefract Park at the weekend to join in this year’s Armed Forces Day celebrations.

Armed Forces champion Cllr Sandra Pickin with Castleford veterans at ArmedForces Day

​Wakefield Council celebrated the outstanding contribution that the armed forces make to the country with a day of fun and activities on Saturday (June 16).

The event attracted crowds of visitors who saw the Centennial of the RAFs formation: marked by the flyover of the most iconic plane of the RAF, a Spitfire courtesy of the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

New to the event this year was West Yorkshire Police who put on K9 Fireside Police Dog Trials.

Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson MBE, former paratrooper who was seriously injured in Afghanistan again joined the celebrations. Local armed forces groups, emergency services, veteran groups and community groups also all made a welcome return.

The Leader of Wakefield Council, Cllr Peter Box CBE, said: “This was another fantastic event and I am pleased that so many people came along and enjoyed the day. It recognises the vital contribution of all those who have fought to protect our country and those that are still serving in the armed forces.

“I would like to thank Cllr Pickin who, as our Armed Forces Champion, has led this event and helped make it the tremendous success it is.”

Younger visitors were able to enjoy a giant slide, bouncy castle, face painting and paintballing. There were also performances by cheer leaders, majorettes, dancers and acrobats and a falconry display.

Pontefract historically contributed much to the First World War through the racecourse itself. From 1916 to 1918, its racecourse was used as a ready-made airfield for the Royal Flying Corps. 33 and 76 Squadron landed their BE2c aircraft at Pontefract before they were sent to France whilst the town itself saw 110 men and two women make the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

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