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Armed Forces Weekend

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
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World War Two planes to give flypast tribute to Armed Forces
Thousands of military and non-military families are expected to flock to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire for its flagship Armed Forces Weekend festivities. The flag has been officially raised at the Arboretum in Alrewas, near Lichfield, ahead of the Armed Forces Weekend on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 June. The celebratory event boasts a comprehensive programme of free fun family activities alongside fly-pasts from iconic Second World War RAF aircraft (weather depending), musical entertainment, informative talks and a food and gift fair. The Veterans' Village, featuring stalls from military charities and organisations, provides a forum for visitors to learn about the work of the Armed Forces, support services for veterans and the opportunity to discover the rich and varied stories of Armed Forces personnel and their families.

National Memorial Arboretum, Armed Forces Weekend
The Armed Forces Weekend flag is raised at the National Memorial Arboretum


Further learning opportunities are available throughout the weekend including talks about the Armed Forces Memorial, the Shot at Dawn memorial, the Far East Prisoners of War, and Silent Testimony, a new commemorative art exhibition about the human impact of The Troubles. There will also be a selection of musical entertainment throughout the weekend, including regular performances from duo 'Sincerely Yours'. On Saturday 29 June The Band of the King's Division and The Band of the Royal Corps of Signals will be on site performing a selection of classic tunes and on Sunday 30 June musician Connor Pereira of The Band of the Army Air Corps will take to the stage. The majestic roar of the Hawker Hurricane is due to be heard at 1.50pm on Saturday 29 June as it flies overhead, while at 1.05pm on Sunday 30 June a Douglas C-47 Dakota is expected to grace the skies over the Arboretum.

National Memorial Arboretum, Armed Forces Memorial
The poignant Armed Forces Memorial


A formal service of thanks and a wreath laying will take place at 11.30am, including the presentation of a cheque from the annual Ride to the Wall event. In addition, the weekend will include a variety of other attractions such as a WWII themed children's assault course, archery, climbing walls, an inflatable airbag, zip line, forklift basketball, and children's crafts. Sarah Oakden, Head of Marketing at the Arboretum, said: "Armed Forces Weekend is always a fantastic time at the Arboretum as we come together to celebrate the service of armed services personnel through a fun-packed programme of family activities, musical entertainment and the opportunity to learn about life in the Armed Forces. We look forward to welcoming thousands of people to the site for what is certain to be another tremendous weekend." For more information about the Arboretum, please visit www.thenma.org.uk
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Why? Pay tribute to the Armed Forces at special weekend event
When: June 29 and 30
Phone: 01283 245100
Where: National Memorial Arboretum, Croxall Road, Alrewas, Burton-on-Trent DE13 7AR
Cost: Free, but normal parking applies
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