Jun 29

Armed Forces Day: St Ives, 29 June 2013

On Saturday 29th June 2013, shipmates Karl Webb and Pete Aston attended the St Ives Armed Forces Day (AFD) celebrations. This was the first time Huntingdon & District Branch had represented the RNA for AFD. We had been offered a stall alongside other Armed Forces organisations and associations such as the Royal British Legion, RAFA, Help for Heroes, and even for Nowzad (an organisation that rescues stray and abandoned animals in Afghanistan).

Armed Forces day 2013, the stall

Armed Forces day 2013, the stall

Huntingdon & District Branch had been invited to attend the celebrations by Alison Melnyczuk, St Ives Town Clerk. Alison met us in the High Street and directed us to our allocated stall. In no time at all we had decorated the stall with RNA and naval bunting.

S/M Pete Aston, ready for the start of AFD

S/M Pete Aston, ready for the start of AFD

We also had a number of display boards depicting the Core Values of the RNA, photographs of events Huntingdon Branch have taken part in, and information on the Royal Naval and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC), who were our chosen charity for AFD.

S/M Karl Webb mans the stall

S/M Karl Webb mans the stall

We had wondered if we would have enough items to attract interest from the visitors to St Ives, we were extremely pleased that once set up, we had more than enough to promote the Association and our chosen charity.

The display boards

The display boards

Pete checks out the bunting

Pete checks out the bunting

Of course we were also able to meet fellow former Armed Forces personnel such as Rod Morison, a former Royal Marine, who collects for Nowzad and Retired Greyhounds. Clearly, being sited alongside the RNA, the banter flew back and forth between us.

Our neighbour, the RM

Our neighbour, the RM

As well as meeting other UK associations, we were very pleased to see, and chat with, our American counterparts such as Commander Denis Paskauskas of the United States Navy. We were visited by Nick Dibben, St Ives Town Mayor, and later on by Pam Edey, the Deputy Town Mayor; both welcomed us, and thanked us for taking part in the celebrations and spent a lot of time chatting to us about the RNA and what we are doing for local communities.

The Royal Navy and the U.S. Navy at AFD 2013

The Royal Navy and the U.S. Navy at AFD 2013

The Royal British Legion and Royal Air Force Association were also present, although we were separated by the Help for Heroes stand, we managed to make a few new friends (of course we reminded them that we are after all, the Senior Service on parade!).

The other stalls

The other stalls

...and vehicles

…and vehicles

...and a Spitfire

…and a Spitfire

It was good to see a Spitfire used as a static display for the event. After the official raising of the AFD Flag at 1200 sharp, we were treated to a flying display by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Spitfire – although, we were under cover of the stall so sadly only caught a fleeting glance of this magnificent aircraft as it flew past.

RAF Wyton's band were also in attendance

RAF Wyton’s band were also in attendance

The Band from Royal Air Force Wyton provided entertainment for locals and visitors to St Ives (including the stall holders of course).

...with plenty of followers

…with plenty of followers

With Oliver Cromwell overlooking the High Street

With Oliver Cromwell overlooking the High Street

We were kept pretty busy discussing the role of the RNA in Huntingdon (and beyond), but managed to get a quick shot of us ‘on parade’.

Time for a quick photo call

Time for a quick photo call

Being such a warm day, everyone was able to wander around the stalls and static displays, hopefully learning about the role of UK (and US) Armed Forces in the local area.

More static displays

More static displays

Even the Bikers get in on the action

Even the Bikers get in on the action

Looking good...

Looking good…

From both ends of the High Street, the Royal Naval Ensign was visible to all, and it did draw in the crowds, including former service personnel from the Royal Naval services – let’s hope some of those visitors become ‘Shipmates’ of the RNA in the near future.

Representatives from all services took part

Representatives from all services took part

Shipmate Pete Aston in the role of recruiting officer!

Pete is in recruitment mode

Pete is in recruitment mode

With the ensign flying high

With the ensign flying high

We made it clear to all our visitors that we are a friendly organisation, and will speak to anybody – including current and former RAF personnel! We were asked to pose with some of the stall holders, just to prove that the banter really is conducted in a friendly manner – we even managed to get donations from them!

We were even asked to pose with 'former' RAF personnel (they know the Senior Service is the best!

We were even asked to pose with ‘former’ RAF personnel (they know the Senior Service is the best!)

But of course, the day had to end sometime, and what a fitting end it was, the battle of Britain Memorial Flight provided another aircraft for a short display, this time a Hurricane, another spectacular aircraft.

And to end the day...

And to end the day…

a visit by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Hurricane

a visit by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Hurricane

Flying past the RNA stall...

Flying past the RNA stall…

Once the flying display had completed, we began to dismantle the stall. For our first attendance at AFD we were extremely pleased with how the day went, we believe we got the message across about our organisation, we made some money for our chosen charity, and for our own branch (also a registered charity), but the real success will be proven if we manage to recruit new members to the branch, only time will tell.

We will be back next year.

Note

During the day we chatted to Dave Mack, he was taking photographs and video of the days events and explained to us that he will be posting the results on the local ‘Shape Your Place’ website on completion of his editing. Dave sent the link to his YouTube clip:

‘Shape Your Place’ website. Click here to view the video.

Permanent link to this article: http://rna-community.com/armed-forces-day-st-ives-29-june-2013