Armed forces week begins across Norfolk

Members of the armed forces were honoured and celebrated as Armed Forces Week kicked off across the county today.

Flags were raised and drums banged as proud veterans and serving military personnel paraded to begin the week leading up to Armed Forces Day this Saturday.

In Norwich, both city and county councils held civic ceremonies outside their respective buildings.

Current Royal Anglian Regiment soldiers joined standard bearing veterans for a morning procession outside City Hall, and later at County Hall.

At City Hall on St Peters Street, Lord Mayor of Norwich Ralph Gayton said: 'We are all proud of our troops and public respect is important - they should wear their uniforms with pride. Our thoughts are with those in conflicts around the world, and their safe return.

'This country has always been proud of, and should continue to honour, the people who put their lives on the line for Queen and Country.'

Thorpe St Andrew town council held their own ceremony at the Parish Church, processing down Yarmouth Road before town mayor John Ward raised the flag.

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West Norfolk marked the start of the week with a parade and flag-raising ceremony in King's Lynn.

Borough Mayor Geoffrey Wareham welcomed around 100 schoolchildren along with the public and veterans to a ceremony at the Tower Gardens.

A full civic parade formed-up at the Royal British Legion building in Tower Street before marching to the Tower Gardens where the flag will fly until July 1.

At Breckland Council office in Dereham civic leaders observed a minute's silence, and an army major due to be deployed to Afghanistan next month said knowing the week is being observed back home is important for troops in the front line.

Major Will Leek of the Light Dragoons, based at the Robertson Barracks in Swanton Morley, near Dereham, said: 'The fact that there is this national recognition does make doing a difficult job slightly easier.'

Great Yarmouth Borough Council raised a flag in St Georges Park and the Town Hall with the help of the British Legion and Winterton 901 Marine Cadets. Rev Albert Cadmore, the Mayors Chaplain, said a prayer for serving soldiers.

Armed forces day will be centred on Plymouth this year, with a number of events coinciding across the country.

For example in Lowestoft military music from the pipes and drums of the Royal British Legion and 469 (Lowestoft) Squadron Air Training Corps and an exhibition of military vehicles will be among the attractions.

There will also be static and flying aircraft displays, rides, games, stalls, and displays by a range of veterans' and cadet associations.

The free event takes place from 10am to 4pm on Royal Green, with an official service and parade.

Visit www.armedforcesday-lowestoft.org.uk

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