Thousands pay tribute to armed forces in Bangor

Pipes and Drums of the Royal Irish Guard pictured during a musical display at the Armed Forces Day in Bangor.
Pipes and Drums of the Royal Irish Guard pictured during a musical display at the Armed Forces Day in Bangor.

Tens of thousands of people descended on Bangor this weekend to mark Armed Forces Day and enjoy a military parade through the Co Down town.

Visitors were given insight into the work of the armed services - army, navy and air force - while also honouring serving and veteran military personnel.

The event - one of 300 held across the UK on Saturday as part of the annual celebration – coincided with the town’s popular maritime festival.

Ards and North Down Mayor, Robert Adair, told the News Letter that around 45,000 people had come to Bangor on Saturday.

He added: “Bangor was buzzing and it was a real family friendly experience.

“The turnout exceeded expectations and it was a wonderful testament to the high esteem in which members of the armed forces are held in our borough.

Sea Cadets stepping out on parade at the Armed Forces Day in Bangor

Sea Cadets stepping out on parade at the Armed Forces Day in Bangor

“Visitors came from all over the UK and Republic of Ireland, and I even spoke to some people from Australia and South Africa.

Ards and North Down Council co-ordinated the festivities, which included Spitfire displays, military vehicles on display, tall ships, music, street theatre and food stalls.

A wide display of memorabilia was also put on display at a military fair at First Bangor Presbyterian Church Hall.

As well as the parade on Saturday, military personnel performed a drumhead service and beating retreat.

Armed forces pictured during the drumhead service in Bangor
.

Armed forces pictured during the drumhead service in Bangor .

North Down UUP MLA, Alan Chambers, hailed the event as “tremendous success”.

He added: “The sight and sound of a Spitfire performing manoeuvres over Belfast Lough was indeed a highlight as were the military bands of the Irish Guards and the Royal Irish Regiment, whose musical performances were excellent and delighted the crowds.”

The Armed Forces events will come to a close on Monday morning, with a commemorative church service to mark the centenary of the award of the Victoria Cross to Holywood man, JS Dunville.