North Kesteven 'salutes our Armed Forces'

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Councillors and veterans stood in the council chamber

More than 300 years of combined service in the Armed Forces has been honoured through the presentation of Veteran’s Badges, in a continuation of a long-held custom by the Council.

The 13 veterans of the British Armed Forces present at a celebratory lunch for Armed Forces Day had put in a collective 180 years of service between them, with individual contributions of between two and more than 37 years. Their badges were presented by North Kesteven District Council Leader Cllr Richard Wright who, as a veteran himself, said it was a deep pleasure to say, ‘thank you for everything you have done’.

Additionally, Veteran’s Badges have been sent to a further nine veterans who were unable to attend. Their collective service represents a further 130 years of contributions in theatres of war, in peace-keeping, community resilience, civil contingencies and countless other duties. Engaged in the British Army, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and Merchant Navy, through long-standing careers and stints in National Service, the breadth of their activities was described as characteristically varied and diverse. The badge presentations followed the formal raising of the Armed Forces Day flag in the presence of serving personnel, forces families, service, veteran and civic representatives plus school children and the wider community gathered at Sleaford Market Place.

The purpose of Armed Forces Day and a programme of wider activity is for the community to show its support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community, whether serving personnel, their families, veterans or recruits and to celebrate and champion the role they play in strengthening and contributing to wider community life. North Kesteven’s theme for 2023 was ‘Saluting our Armed Forces: Past Present and Future’.

North Kesteven has the county’s second highest proportion of veterans and people associated with the Armed Forces living locally.

Commandant of RAF College Cranwell, Group Captain Tina Jessup, said that His Majesty’s Armed Forces were currently on operations in 28 countries, supporting overseas territories, working alongside NATO colleague and co-ordinating rescue evacuations. “Importantly”, she said, “we could not do this without the support from family, friends and the very community that we all live in. We have a huge presence in the District of North Kesteven, both today and historically, so I say a huge thank you to each and every one of you for your continued support to His Majesty’s Armed Forces.”

From 80-plus entries, the overall winner of the schools’ poster design competition was St George’s Academy KS4 student Callum whose detail in representing the different saluting styles across the Services was acknowledged and appreciated.

Veteran’s Badge recipients were: Rodger Harvey; Thomas Thompson; Edwin Tripp; Michael White; Richard Watson; Marc Berry; Martin Eccles; George Green; Graham Nicklin; Darren Screeton; Harry Watson; Carl Henrickson; and Pat Line.

Additionally, badges were sent in recognition of service to: Steven Hinton; David Campbell; Steven Smith; Jeffrey Hemsley; Robert McDonnell; Phillip Crane; Brian Miles; Keith Richards; and Carl O’Brien.

Veteran’s Badges are now given to all personnel as they end their service, but North Kesteven District Council is keen to ensure all NK-resident veterans who are eligible for one – covering any period of service of one day or more in the Army, Navy, RAF or Merchant Navy, as a reservist, full-timer or through National Service – should receive one. To enquire about applying for a badge to be presented next year, email armedforces@n-kesteven.gov.uk

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