Armed Forces Flag Raising Ceremony - Monday 22 June 2020
The Town Mayor, Councillor Catherine Clark, The Mayor’s Escort, Councillor Katie Anscomb and the Leader of the Council, Councillor Andy Tree, on behalf of Whitehill Town Council, were joined by Darron Back, Branch Secretary, Bordon & District Branch of The Royal British Legion, to pay their respects to our Armed Forces during a short ceremony in the event space at the Forest Community Centre on Monday 22nd June 2020. The event was held to mark the start of Armed Forces Week, with Armed Forces Day being Saturday 27th June 2020.
Plans for the annual community event to mark the occasion were unable to go ahead due to the COVID-19 situation, however, on behalf of the local Community, the Council wanted to pay their respects by holding a low-key ceremony this year.
??The Mayor gave a welcoming speech in which she paid tribute to the Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) for the important role that they have played in our town for over a century which was recognised in 2015 when they were awarded the “Freedom of the Town” at the Garrison Festival, and said that “it is important that we still recognise this event as a part of this town’s heritage”
The Mayor said that “it is only right that we should give recognition to the tremendous support, sacrifice and commitment carried out by our Armed Forces (Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force), both veterans and present service men and women”. The Mayor also paid tribute “to the amazing work carried out by the volunteers to the Armed Forces, such as the Royal British Legion and the Armed Forces Charity, SSAFA”.
The Mayor then invited Darron Back to raise the flag, which was followed by 1 minute’s silence as a mark of respect to commemorate the event.
In her closing speech The Mayor, on behalf of Whitehill Town Council, said “I would like to take this chance to thank our local community members as they help and support each other at this difficult time and offer a heartfelt thank you to the members of the NHS and essential services and volunteers who have continued working, often at personal risk, to keep our town and country safe.”
??Although Lieutenant Colonel Mark Ludlow, FUSILIERS, Longmoor camp, was unable to be present at the ceremony he wanted to pay his respects to mark the occasion with his own personal message in which he explained “the links between Whitehill and Bordon and Her Majesty’s Armed Forces go back to around 1867 when training grounds at Woolmer and later the ranges were first purchased to be within a ‘marching day of Aldershot’ and the Garrison was later established here at Bordon and in Longmoor in support”.
Lieutenant Colonel Ludlow also explained that “despite the loss of the Garrison the links between this Borough and YOUR Armed Forces remain as strong as ever”. He explained the leading role that the Armed Forces have played in the fight against COVID-19 “be it in constructing the Nightingale Hospitals through to manning the vital Mobile Testing Teams or crucial support in providing logistics personnel and planners in distributing PPE. Finally we must not forget the doctors, nurses and Combat Medics of all three services serving front line alongside their NHS colleagues – every day fighting the virus on the COVID wards and saving peoples lives”. He paid particular tribute to the names on the town’s War Memorial and the sacrifice made by those 69 members of the Armed Forces in the service of their country.
The ceremony was particularly significant for The Mayor as it was the last official event she would attend as The Town Mayor as her extended year in office shortly comes to end.