This will be the Red Arrows’ first appearance in Northern Ireland during this special Platinum Jubilee year.
The daredevil pilots will fly over the County Down town at noon this Saturday in their distinctive Hawk fast-jets and showcase their breath-taking stunts with trademark diamond nine formation and coloured vapour trails. They can be viewed from the town centre as well as Banbridge Rugby Club’s grounds.
The action-packed programme will also feature two rousing sets by the world famous Red Hot Chilli Pipers, thrilling aerial action by the RLC Silver Stars parachute display team, music by Jack Devlin Band and The Soda Popz 50s/60s band supported by Ballroom Blitz NI.
Former Armagh Banbridge Craigavon Mayor and Council Veterans Champion, Alderman Glenn Barr, said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with Council officers, the Ministry of Defence and the Northern Ireland Reserve Forces and Cadet Association in bringing this flagship event to the borough. “Banbridge is looking forward to hosting Armed Forces Day and welcoming the many thousands of people to our town.”
Having long advocated for this flagship event to be held in Banbridge, he added: “I brought forward a Notice of Motion in 2018 for our Borough to host Armed Forces Day; Our borough has a proud history of supporting the efforts of the Armed Forces. We admire all they do to defend our nation, and appreciate all the sacrifices they make while serving their country with great distinction. We have gone all out to make this year’s Armed Forces Day celebrations one of the biggest and best to date, with a first-class entertainment programme guaranteed to attract huge numbers to the borough. So join us for a fantastic day of free family fun.”
There will be many more activities on the ground for families: military stands and displays; vintage aircraft and military vehicles; highland and garden games; a rugby 7s competition; archery; chairoplanes; climbing towers; mini assault course; swing boats; face painting and walkabout characters.
The day gets underway with a Drumhead Service at Banbridge War Memorial, Newry Street at 10.30am followed by a parade of 500 serving personnel, veterans and cadets and accompanying bands who will march to Banbridge Rugby Club – the venue for the military and musical spectacular.
The Band of the Royal Irish Regiment accompanied by the bugles, drums and pipes of the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish will bring the event to a spectacular close.
UTV presenter Paul Clark will compere and BFBS will be broadcasting live from Banbridge Rugby Club.
Some of the key events are as follows:
12pm (noon): Armed Forces Day Flag Raising Ceremony & Artillery Fire at the main arena
1pm – 1.30pm: Military Wives Choir (main stage)
1.45pm – 2.05pm: Red Hot Chilli Pipers (main stage)
2.15pm – 2.30pm: Royal Logistic Corps’ Silver Stars parachute display team will land at the rugby club
2.30pm – 2.50pm: A piper will perform at the main stage
2.50pm – 3.30pm: The Ballroom Blitz dance team will perform on the main stage, as will 1950s/60s-themed act The Soda Popz
3.45pm – 4.05pm: The Red Hot Chilli Pipers (main stage)
4.45pm – 5pm: Beating Retreat Finale by the Band of the Royal Irish Regiment (main stage)
The free car parks, located close to the town centre, will open at 9am and close at 6pm.
For full details about the event including the programme, free car parks and road closures, visit www.armedforcesdayni.co.uk