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UPDATED WITH VIDEO. Veterans march through Weymouth on Armed Forces weekend
VETERANS from all over the country marched side by side along Weymouth’s seafront today to mark Veterans Day.
The veterans' parade was part of the town’s Armed Forces weekend events.
The day started with an open air service and wreath-laying at the British Cenotaph, which was attended by the Mayor and Dorset's Lord Lieutenant Angus Campbell.
Afterwards veterans, let by the band of the Royal Marines Plymouth, paraded down Weymouth’s Esplanade, with former servicemen and women representing regiments from all over the country.
Later in the day a vehicle convoy and display took place and bands played throughout the day.
The Parade marks the last day of weekend events to celebrate Armed Forces Day and commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One.
Veteran Keith Pitchford, 66, who served in 16th/5th The Queen's Royal Lancers, said: “We’re really here today to remember the others who we served with and commemorate some of those chaps. It’s very important to us to be here today.”
Sgt William Hubbock, 86, was 16 when he joined the Royal Fusiliers in 1944.
He said: “It’s definitely important to remember. I want our young people to remember because I don’t know what things like this are going to be like in the future. If it wasn’t for the sacrifices of others the future wouldn’t be anything like it looks now.”
An estimated 40,000 people have visited Weymouth this weekend for the commemorative events.
Marsden Hewing, who served with the Gurkha Rifles, travelled from Wales for the event and said: “I come down here every year. It’s important to teach the young about those who fought for them. It’s especially important because of the anniversaries of World War One and D-Day.”
Yesterday a variety of things took place included a beach assault, militaria fair, 60 military vehicle display and convoy, an evening of 1940s dancing and re-enactments amongst other events, all topped off with a fly-by over the beach by a Spitfire.
Steve Davies, events manager for Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said the whole weekend had been a great success.
“Yesterday and today we’ve had record numbers. Over 20,000 people have attended today’s veterans' parade. It just shows the popularity and success of the event has built up over the years. This is the event that they all want to come to, from all over the country. It’s great for the local economy too, it’s been a boost because people are staying all weekend.”
Weymouth and Portland’s Mayor Kate Wheller said: “I think Sunday’s events have gone hugely successfully. It was really great to see so many people attending and such a lot taking part. The events struck a nice balance between the moving ceremony and the parade to remember all those who did so much for us.”
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