Town will host armed forces

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Ballymena Showgrounds is set to play a central role in this year’s Regional Armed Forces Day Celebrations in Northern Ireland.

Councillor Billy Ashe, Chairman of Mid and East Antrim Council said: “The three-day event at three different locations will attract a wide audience of all ages, increasing footfall and providing economic benefit to the entire area.”

Mid and East Antrim will be the focus for the celebration over the weekend of 19th – 21st June 2015.

The three-centre celebrations will commence with a ‘curtain raising’, maritime-focused event at the spectacular waterfront area in Carrickfergus on Friday evening June 19 2015.

On Saturday, June 20, the focus switches to Ballymena where an all-day programme will take place.

The day will commence with a military, veterans and cadets parade through the streets of the town to Showgrounds for a drumhead service and welcome ceremony.

Spectators and visitors will enjoy an exciting range of arena displays, sports competitions between military and civilian teams, and static display stands.

Capability demonstrations by the military, as well as adventure activities and children’s activities are also planned to enhance the family experience for all!

The day’s celebrations in the town, which has a long and historic connection to the armed forces, will conclude with ‘Beating a Retreat’ and closing ceremony.

The proposed ‘finale’ event will be held in Larne on Sunday 21st June and will include a suitably reflective church service with military music support and tri-service Senior Military Representation.

Cllr. John Stewart, Chairman of the Armed Forces Day Steering Group, said: “Mid and East Antrim Council is working closely with representatives from all the military services, the Royal British Legion and various local communities to plan an engaging and exciting line up of activities for the public to experience and enjoy.”