Armed Forces Week in Sleaford was launched on Monday with a flag raising ceremony in the courtyard of North Kesteven District Council’s offices led by NKDC chairman Coun Sally Tarry and RAF Digby Station Commander, Wing Commander Tom Ashbridge.
As well as civic guests, pupils from 11 local schools, veterans and others attended.
Coun Tarry said: “The flag-raising at North Kesteven combines ceremony and celebration, contributing to a wider understanding of the Armed Forces and the crucial role they play in our everyday life. This is particularly significant in North Kesteven as we have three RAF bases and a large number of military personnel living in the district.”
Wg Cdr Ashbridge said: “RAF Digby works 24/7 in support of operations across the world – day in, day out – and we can only do that with the support of the community; we can’t work alone. We are absolutely dependent on the help of everybody around us in making that happen: the doctors, the schools, the hospitals, shops and councils.
“All of those people come together to be a supportive community and I think we are very lucky in North Kesteven to have such a military-focused community around us.
“This community of North Kesteven really understands the Armed Forces and makes us feel at home, which allows us to do our jobs even better.”
Town traders have put on a spectacular show of support dressing windows in red, white and blue, flags and artefacts depicting the Armed Forces. Many are offering discounts to holders of Armed Forces Cards. Bunting was provided by NKDC and a dozen shops in Sleaford went the extra mile with displays.
Judged to be especially ‘spectacular’ was Lunettes Opticians. Representatives of the shop will be invited to the Veterans’ Evening on Friday, where 14 Veterans Badges will be presented. Winner of the school’s poster design competition Alexandra Marie Leeson, from Kirkby la Thorpe will also be invited.
The Drumhead Service in Sleaford Market Place on Saturday at 11am, is inspired by the 75th anniversary of the town’s phenomenal response to Warship Week and adoption of HMS Sheldrake. This is free and open to all.