Wales

Cardiff hosts UK's forces day event

  • 26 June 2010
  • From the section Wales

An estimated 80,000 people have lined the streets of Cardiff for the UK's second Armed Forces Day.

The day began with a parade of troops from Cardiff Castle and will include air, sea and land displays and a drumhead service.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall joined the event as part of their week-long tour of Wales.

Meanwhile, at events in mid Wales, peace campaigners, CND Cymru, called for a change of policy to conflict.

Armed Forces Day is an annual event to show support for UK troops and those who lost their lives in battle.

It is taking place at the end of a week which saw the 300th British soldier die in Afghanistan.

BBC Wales' Caroline Rigby watched as the parade made its way along St Mary Street.

"There was a great atmosphere, and the crowds were clapping, cheering and waving flags as the regiments made their way passed," she said.

"Ticker tape was blasted out which rained down on the crowds which were three deep on the pavements.

"There were thousands of people watching - some were serving soldiers on leave, some had family in the forces and others were just there to support.

"After the parade passed, the crowd dispersed pretty quickly with some making their way to the Bay," she added.

Speaking before the event, Hazel Hunt, whose son Pte Richard Hunt, 21, of 2nd Battalion the Royal Welsh, was the 200th soldier to die in Afghanistan, said the backing of the public was "a great comfort".

She said the event would help people understand the armed forces' work.

Mrs Hunt, who is attending, said: "There's a feeling of affection for the lads - it's there, it's just at times it gets forgotten.

"When you have the profile of Armed Forces Day, it gives people a chance to show their appreciation and that's a great comfort."

Regiments saluted Prince Charles as they marched passed him
Regiments saluted Prince Charles as they marched passed him

Pte Hunt, who lived near Abergavenny in Monmouthshire, died in hospital in the UK two days after an explosion in Helmand Province while on vehicle patrol.

Falklands War veteran Simon Weston said Armed Forces Day was a "very special" event, and he was delighted it was being held in Cardiff this year.

More than 350 other events are planned across the UK to mark Armed Forces Day, and others have taken place over the past week.

The Queen sent a message of support for the day.

'Proud history'

She said: "The men and women of our armed forces have always been admirable examples of professionalism and courage. Then as now, they perform their duties in often the most difficult and dangerous of circumstances, both at home and overseas."

First Minister Carwyn Jones said Wales had "a proud history and relationship with the armed forces'.

He said: "Around 3,000 soldiers, sailors and Royal Air Force personnel are stationed here in Wales and, together with their families, they are an integral part of Welsh society."

But as thousands gathered in Cardiff, CND Cymru secretary Jill Gough, called for a change in policy over warfare

"Many know that if there is to be any healthy, safe future for our children and those all around the world then it is nigh time we learned, as humans, to behave differently," she said.

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