Scarborough triumphs at AFD national event

More than 100,000 people from all over the country descended on the Yorkshire coast town of Scarborough today (Saturday 25 June) to celebrate the very best of the military at this year’s prestigious Armed Forces Day national event.

Under blue skies, crowds lined pavements, the beach, cliff tops and balconies to be entertained by a dazzling spectacle of the very best displays and activities on the water, on land and in the skies.

The light breeze didn’t stop the daring demonstration of freefall and canopy skills by the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team before they landed on the beach in a haze of red, white and blue smoke to mark the start of the event.

As His Royal Highness, Prince Edward The Duke of Kent, took his seat on the formal balcony overlooking the parade route at 11.15am, Royal Navy ship, HMS Westminster, fired its saluting guns to signal the start of the military parade.

Joining His Royal Highness on the VIP balcony were the Mayor and Mayoress of the Borough of Scarborough – Councillor Eric Broadbent and his wife Lynne, Equerry to His Royal Highness – Capt Charles Longstaff SG, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence People and Veterans – Leo Docherty, Chief of the Defence Staff – Adm Sir Tony Radakin KCB ADC and the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Mrs Johanna Ropner.

The pomp, ceremony, precision and riot of colour of the Armed Forces Day parade along the seafront followed. Taking part were serving personnel, veterans, standard bearers and cadets from the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood, Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Band of the Yorkshire Regiment, British Army, Band of the Royal Air Force College, Royal Air Force, Yorkshire Volunteers Band, Sea Cadets, Army Cadets and RAF Cadets.

The parade salute coincided with a flypast of the Royal Navy Merlin Mk2 and Wildcat helicopters, and the Navy Wings charity’s Seafire. A confetti cannon was set off for each individual service and band that marched along the seafront.

Crowd favourites, the RAF Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, took their distinctive red Hawk jets to the skies for 20 minutes at lunchtime to wow the crowds with their legendary formations and mind blowing aeronautical skills.

The Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight took to the skies next, followed by a display from the Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter, Royal Navy Stinson Reliant and Royal Navy Seafire.

The final musical interlude of the day was from the military and non-military drum and flute enthusiasts of The Yorkshire Corps of Drums.

The might and roar of the RAF Typhoon’s twin EJ200 R-R engines and its precise execution of tight loops and turns brought the air display programme to a memorable close. 

In between all the air displays, parades and musical performances, people of all ages got to see some of the best military hardware from all three services in the tri-service military village on West Pier and separate Navy, Army and RAF villages on Marine Drive.

Must see exhibits included the Royal Navy dive team and explosive ordnance disposal vehicle, the British Army high mobility weapons platform, Jackal 2, and the RAF Typhoon flying experience in its facsimile aircraft. Budding pilots were also able to experience a ‘day in the life of the RAF’ with a nine minutes long high-tempo interactive experience.

The Royal Navy RFA Tiderace was anchored in the South Bay close to HMS Westminster.

To the south of the main event area, BFBS hosted an esports exhibition tournament at Scarborough Spa. Teams from local schools, colleges, cadets and the community competed against the Army, Navy and RAF esport teams, in fast-paced Rocket League matches.

Along the seafront there were many different stalls and displays from charities, sponsors and supporting organisations, including Heroes Welcome, a national programme conceived in Scarborough that encourages communities and businesses to support and give special offers to Armed Forces personnel and their families. 

After the closing ceremony and prayers at 5pm, the celebrations continued into the evening with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons at Scarborough Open Air Theatre and the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood in Scarborough Spa grand hall.

The council is extremely grateful to more than fifty sponsors and business partners for their financial and in kind support, without which the event would not have been possible: headline sponsor Tesco and key sponsors Holt’s Military Banking, The Royal NAAFI, NatWest Group, Babcock, BAE Systems, Balfour Beatty, McCain Foods, RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity, The Royal British Legion and Taylor Wimpey.

Councillor Tony Randerson, Scarborough Borough Council Armed Forces champion and cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said:

“Today has truly been a magnificent day. The experience of putting on a spectacular show for the Armed Forces Day national event will long live in my memory, in the memories of those taking part and all those who travelled to Scarborough from all corners of the country.

“It has been an absolute privilege to host the event and celebrate the commitment, courage and unstinting service of all three Armed Forces.

“I would like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone who has made today a reality – Navy, Army, RAF and Ministry of Defence staff, sponsors, partners, the organising committee, local businesses and residents.

“My biggest thanks go to our outstanding council teams. Led by Stuart Clark and his small events team, they have worked endless hours for many months to ensure today’s magnificent event went to plan and without a hitch. I couldn’t be more proud of their super team effort and everything they have achieved.”

Commodore Phil Waterhouse, Naval Regional Commander for Northern England and the Joint Military Commander for the Armed Forces Day national event,

“The borough of Scarborough can feel rightfully proud to have hosted the Armed Forces Day national event 2022.

“It has been extraordinarily well received by everyone and has given the public a great opportunity to get up close and personal to both their military and also the military’s own personal support mechanism – their families.

“Scarborough has waited nearly four years to host this years’ event and the public has clearly valued and appreciated the show the council, the Armed Forces and others have put on. It has been a wonderfully successful achievement, which the community can give themselves a big ‘salute’ for.”

Military band marching along a packed Scarborough South Bay