The National Memorial Arboretum, in Staffordshire, has raised the Armed Forces Day flag signifying the start of Armed Forces week. Throughout the weekend of 29 and 30 June thousands of military and non-military families are expected to flock to the Arboretum for its flagship Armed Forces Weekend festivities. The celebratory event boasts a comprehensive programme of free fun family activities alongside flypasts from iconic Second World War RAF aircraft (weather depending), musical entertainment, informative talks and a food and gift fair.

The Veterans’ Village, featuring stalls from military charities and organisations, provides a forum for visitors to learn about the work of the Armed Forces, support services for veterans and the opportunity to discover the rich and varied stories of Armed Forces personnel and their families. Further learning opportunities are available throughout the weekend including talks about the Armed Forces Memorial, the Shot at Dawn memorial, the Far East Prisoners of War, and Silent Testimony, a new commemorative art exhibition about the human impact of The Troubles.

There will be a selection of musical entertainment throughout the weekend, including regular performances from duo ‘Sincerely Yours’. On Saturday 29 June The Band of the King’s Division and The Band of the Royal Corps of Signals will be on site performing a selection of classic tunes and on Sunday 30 June Musician Connor Pereira of The Band of the Army Air Corps will take to the stage.

The majestic roar of the Hawker Hurricane will be heard at 1.50pm* on Saturday 29 June as it flies overhead and at 1.05pm* on Sunday 30 June a Douglas C-47 Dakota will grace the skies over the Arboretum. Both flypasts are weather dependent.

Members of the public are being urged to come and demonstrate their support for our Armed Forces during the parade at noon on Saturday 29 June, by lining the route and cheering personnel as they march past. A formal service of thanks and a wreath laying will take place at 11.30am, prior to the parade. The service will include presentation of a cheque from Ride to the Wall.

In addition, throughout the weekend there will be:

WWII themed children’s assault course
Archery, climbing walls, inflatable air bag and zip line
Briggs Equipment Forklift basketball
Segways
Children’s craft
Food and gift fair

Sarah Oakden, Head of Marketing, National Memorial Arboretum said: “Armed Forces Weekend is always a fantastic time at the Arboretum as we come together to celebrate the service of armed services personnel through a fun packed programme of family activities, musical entertainment and the opportunity to learn about life in the Armed Forces. We look forward to welcoming thousands of people to the site for what is certain to be another tremendous weekend.”

*Times subject to change