Date Published: 17 June 2021
An Armed Forces Day flag was raised in Sleaford on Monday 21 June in a ceremony honouring and thanking all those who have served and who serve us today.
Ordinarily there is more activity in the week, co-ordinated by North Kesteven District Council and in partnership with Sleaford Town Council, local RAF bases and veterans’ organisations, but given the ongoing Covid-19 situation this is being scaled back at this time to ensure public safety.
Relocated to Sleaford Market Place to maximise on opportunity for social distancing, the public flag raising event was in limited numbers with all attendees requested to abide by all ongoing requirements and regulations.
In the presence of military representatives and civic guests, the Armed Forces Day flag was raised within a short ceremony at 10.30am, close to the entrance to St Denys Church, where Vicar of Sleaford and Armed Forces Chaplain within the RAF, the Rev Philip Johnson gave a blessing.
Armed Forces Day is an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the contribution made by the Armed Forces to our community both organisationally and as individuals, past, present and future.
Ordinarily the flag raising is followed by a lunch and presentation of Veteran’s Badges. It is hoped that this aspect of the celebrations will happen later in the year, which allows more time for former Service personnel to apply to receive their badge in recognition of their contribution during their Military Service.
District veterans of any length or type of service wishing to apply for a badge to be presented can email Armedforces@n-kesteven.gov.uk or call the Council’s Partnerships Team on 01529 414155.
During the week businesses throughout Sleaford and across the District are encouraged to decorate their windows in keeping with the Armed Forces Day theme and to consider extending any offers or discounts to veterans or serving personnel.
Vicar of Sleaford, Rural Dean and RAF Chaplain Rev Philip Johnson said: "In my eight years as Vicar of Sleaford I have always been impressed by the way in which North Kesteven District Council have used Armed Forces Day to recognise and support both veterans and those who are currently serving.
"Even with pandemic restriction, the District Council, has done everything possible to mark this day and demonstrate their commitment to our armed forces and their families and although this year will be a bit different I am delighted to be involved in this event."
Council Leader Cllr Richard Wright said: ”The celebration of Armed Forces Day has always been of great importance to North Kesteven District Council, in no small part as an acknowledgment and expression of thanks and appreciation for the contribution made to our community of Service personnel past and present and in anticipation of a strong and meaningful future relationship.
“Equally I know that it is a valued opportunity for the Service community to say ‘thank you’ in return to the civilian communities within the District, for the welcome and encouragement they receive, as they contribute to our District of Flourishing Communities
“As a Service veteran myself, serving for 21 years with the RAF and allied trades, I have experienced first-hand the mutuality and inter-connectedness of the Service and broader communities as they work together and support each other in making the District their home. It is a relationship we cherish and which, I believe, characterises and enhances life, opportunities and service provision within North Kesteven.”
RAF College Cranwell Station Commander Group Captain Joanne Campbell OBE gave a speech in her first public event as Station Commander, accompanied by RAF College Cranwell Station Warrant Officer Stewart Thorpe. Ceremonial bugler John Pearson played as the flag was raised. A small number of children also came by to be present at a distance, waving handmade flags.
From left: RAF College Cranwell Station Warrant Officer Stewart Thorpe, Mayor of Sleaford, Chairman of Sleaford Town Council and North Kesteven District Councillor Robert Oates, RAF College Cranwell Station Commander Group Captain Joanne Campbell OBE, North Kesteven District Council Councillor and former Council Chairman Susan Waring, and Vicar of Sleaford and Armed Forces Chaplain within the RAF the Rev Philip Johnson.