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Swansea City continues to show appreciation for service personnel past and present

SWANSEA is doing more than ever to honour those who have served in Britain’s armed forces – and this weekend brings another big chance for the public to show their support.

Wales Armed Forces Day will be celebrated tomorrow (Saturday July 6) on day one of the two-day Swansea Council-run Wales Airshow.

An all-weekend Veteran’s Village, supported by the Royal British Legion, will host service-related charities. There’ll also be a marquee where veterans can talk, relax and seek specialist advice in private over tea and coffee.

Those represented in a neighbouring Armed Forces Covenant marquee are due to include the council’s Armed Forces Covenant team and local area coordinators, Veterans RV Swansea, veterans charity Blesma, the Supporting Service Children in Education in Wales programme, LGBT+ charity Fighting With Pride, the Forces Employment charity, meeting space charity Woody’s Lodge, armed forces charity SSAFA, stress and mental health initiative Change Step Wales, Swansea Veterans Hub CIC and motorcycle charity Armed Forces Bikers.

The airshow takes place close to the UK’s Armed Forces Week and airshow visitors will be able to celebrate the contributions made to the UK by those who serve and have served in the forces.

Saturday’s activity is due to include a stage ceremony – from noon – and entertainment. There’ll be a signing ceremony for the Armed Forced Covenant, renewing the council’s commitment to the armed forces family.

All veterans are welcome. Members of the public are encouraged to attend and show their support. 

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “It’s an honour to be able to celebrate the essential work carried out now and in the past by the nation’s service personnel.

“They defend our country and communities; they bring great credit to the country. The council will continue to salute them and acknowledge their valuable contribution.”

Wendy Lewis, the council’s armed forces champion, said: “The council proudly supports those who serve; I encourage all those visiting this weekend’s airshow to show their support by visiting the Veteran’s Village and, if they can, take part in Saturday’s ceremonial activity.”

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This is the latest illustration of how the council and local community value the efforts of forces personnel past and present.

In November, to mark Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, the Brangwyn Hall hosted a Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance and senior council figures were among those who attended a service at the Cenotaph.

There was a Poppies for Paddington ceremony at Swansea Railway Station, attended by the Lord Mayor, leader and armed forces champion – and civic buildings around Swansea fell silent for the National Two Minute Silence.

The Guildhall was lit in poppy red on the evenings of November 11 and November 12.

An RBL Remembrance Parade took place in Oxford Street, Swansea, when attendees included the Lord Mayor and council leader, who were also invited to the annual Service of Remembrance at St Mary’s Church.

June 29 was UK Armed Forces Day. The council marked the occasion with a ceremony at the Guildhall. The event was attended by civic dignitaries and armed forces representatives. 

That night the council lit the Guildhall in red, white and blue to honour service personnel, veterans and their families.

On July 10, as part of Swansea’s armed forces celebrations, some of the region’s last living World War Two veterans and their families will attend the Mansion House for an event hosted by Lord Mayor Paxton Hood-Williams.

Aged from 98 to 105, attendees will include veterans who served in the Army, Navy and Air Force along with the Merchant Navy, Medical Corp and a woman who worked at Bletchley Park, home of the wartime codebreakers.

Meanwhile, the council has stepped in to safeguard the future of war memorials in Swansea.

Some such as the Cenotaph on the promenade, were already managed by the council but others had been looked after by volunteers and armed forces organisations.

Time had caught up with some of those who helped to keep the landmarks maintained and the council is now committed to maintaining them in the future where required.

The council supports the Armed Forces Covenant which encourages local communities to support the service community and nurture understanding and awareness of the issues affecting the armed forces community.

The council’s website points to a wide range of services specifically designed for the armed forces community available from local government, Ministry of Defence and third sector organisations.