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National Forces Day event "will put Chatham on map"

HMS Gannet, one of the Historic Dockyard's visitor attractions
HMS Gannet, one of the Historic Dockyard's visitor attractions

All eyes will be on Chatham this summer as the Historic Dockyard hosts the first National Armed Forces Day.

The event, on June 27, will give the nation a chance to show their appreciation and support of the Armed Forces.

Chatham will host the main ceremony, with hundreds of other events taking place across the country.

The other bidders to host national Armed Forces Day were Cardiff, Blackpool, Plymouth, Southend and Southport. They will all hold parades partly funded by the Ministry of Defence.

The big event in Chatham will be one of many community events taking place around the country.

The Prime Minister gave his backing to the idea of a national Armed Forces Day after a high-profile national campaign, which was backed by a host of retired generals and admirals and Sir Jock Stirrup, Chief of the Defence staff.

The news has been welcomed by Medway’s great and good.

MPs Jonathan Shaw (Chatham and Aylesford) and Paul Clark (Gillingham and Rainham) lobbied the Ministry of Defence to award Chatham the honour to host the event.

Mr Shaw said: "It is a tribute to the dockyard that it beat other mayor towns and cities around the UK in bidding for the event.

"The Historic Dockyard has unparalleled facilities to host Armed Forces Day 2009. It will mean thousands of serving and former military personnel will be honoured. The event will be spectacular. The eyes of the nation will be on Medway and it will put Chatham firmly on the map."

Royal Engineer Sean Gilbert, based at Brompton Barracks, said: "The event will be a great opportunity for the town to gain some exposure.

"It will be a wonderful day, not only for the men and women who serve, but for their families as well."

Cllr Rodney Chambers, the leader of Medway Council, said: "Chatham’s historic naval dockyard is a fitting place to celebrate and pay tribute to our armed services and all those British servicemen who have played a part in protecting our country.

"Medway Council worked closely with the South East England Development Agency in support of the Historic Dockyard’s bid to hold Armed Forces Day and I am very pleased that this was successful."

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