Weather-hit Armed Forces Day cannot be re-scheduled in Preston this year say top brass

Preston's Armed Forces Day, wrecked by the weather last weekend, will not now be held this year.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 4:35 pm

Organisers say the event, called off on Saturday less than three hours before the parade was due to start, cannot be rescheduled in time to honour the city's military in 2021.

The cancellation was the second time the event had been put off this year. It left hundreds of veterans disappointed and meant Preston has not celebrated Armed Forces Day since June 2019 - last year's show was called off due to Covid restrictions as was this year's original date in June.

"It's been frustrating," said one of the organisers, Colonel David Waters, who is president of the Preston and District Veterans' Council.

The last time Preston hosted Armed Forces Day was in June 2019.

"We gave it a good try, but in the end it didn't come off. So it looks like we will resume the annual cycle (of military events) next June."

Planning has now begun for November's Remembrance Sunday and, with last year's official ceremony also suspended due to the pandemic, organisers are promising to make up for lost time with an event to be proud of.

Preston has seen a whole series of military events affected by coronavirus since the 75th anniversary of VE Day was halted in May 2020.

After that last year's Armed Forces Day was cancelled in June and VJ 75 Day in August. A public service for Remembrance Sunday in November was also called off.

Colonel David Waters said: 'We gave it a good try, but it just didn't come off.'

The 2021 Armed Forces Day this June was halted because Covid restrictions were still in force and then last Saturday's re-arranged ceremony was also scrapped when a yellow weather warning threatened a storm around 11am.

The city's military have still managed to honour the fallen with private services on some of those occasions. But veterans were looking forward to finally parading their colours in a march from the Town Hall to the Flag Market until the weather intervened.

The Veterans' Council is meeting city council chiefs and armed forces representatives on September 6 to plan this year's Remembrance Service.

"After the disappointments of the past 15 or 16 months we are hoping to make it a great occasion to finally honour our war heroes," said Col Waters.