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Wigan celebrates current servicemen and veterans on Armed Forces Day
Monday 24th June, 2013

Wigan Council will formally declare its support for armed forces personnel with the signing of a Community Covenant at a special ceremony at Wigan Town Hall, followed by a town centre parade, military exhibits and a host of activities on national Armed Forces Day, Saturday 29th June.

Wigan Council Leader, Lord Peter Smith, chief executive, Donna Hall, the Mayor of Wigan, officers, councillors and VIPs will be joined by Brigadier Nick Fitzgerald MBE, the North Westís highest ranking military officer, at the signing of the Covenant. A Community Covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support between a cilvilian community and its local Armed Forces community.

The military parade through the town centre will feature current serving members of the armed forces, veterans and the Bolton Caledonia Pipe Band. It will start at around 11am from Crompton Street, moving along Standishgate to the cenotaph at Wigan Parish Church, where a short service will be led by Canon Ray Hutchinson. The salute will be taken by Brigadier Nick Fitzgerald MBE, the Worshipful, the Mayor of Wigan and Lord Smith, Leader of Wigan Council.

Throughout the town centre from 10am – 4pm there will be a range of exhibits including a Mark IX Spitfire BS 435, RAF Fuel Bowser and a Green Goddess. Alongside these will be stalls and entertainment featuring live swing music and dancing from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, and activities including a climbing wall and face painting.
Free public parking will be available from 10am in the following car parks: Galleries, Water Street, Harrogate Street, Chapel Lane, Mona Street.

Special VIPs at the signing ceremony will be Wigan World War II veterans including a member of Churchillís secret army, a Bletchley Park code breaker and a member of the Navyís Arctic Convoys. The Arctic Star will be presented to Herbert Ross (90) in recognition of his contributions to the Arctic Convoys during World War II.

Leader of Wigan Council, Lord Peter Smith, said: “It is a privilege to have Brigadier Fitzgerald joining us to sign the Community Covenant and lead the parade. I am also delighted that we are able to both show our support for our current service men and women, and our recognition of the contribution made by veterans of past conflicts. To be present to witness Herbert Ross receive his Arctic Star will be an honour.”

Many businesses are showing their support with special offers for service personnel on production of either an Armed Forces ID card or Veteranís badge. They include: Gallimoreís, Mr Chips, Cafť Select, The Coffee Bank, Last Orders Pub, The Courtyard Cafť and Costa Coffee (upstairs in Grand Arcade).

National Armed Forces Day is to raise public awareness of the contribution made to our country by those who serve and have served in Her Majesty's Armed Forces. It gives the nation an opportunity to show support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to Service families and from veterans to cadets. Funding for the Wigan event has been received from the Ministry of Defence.

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