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June 30 2014.

Bob Peedle reports:

Saturday saw the Martello Fields on Seaford’s Sea Front with crowds gathering for the 2014 Seahaven Veterans and Armed Forces Day. The event is organised by Seaford Town Council along with the Seahaven Branch of The Royal Society of St. George for everyone in the District of Lewes and surrounding towns and villages.

The Inspecting Officer was Mrs Chantal Wilson, Deputy Lieutenant for East Sussex. The parade formed up at the Martello Tower at 12.15pm. It was lead by two drummers from the Air Training Corps and eight Standard Bearers. Then the contingent of Veterans was followed by detachments from local units the Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force and the Air Training Corps. They marched past the Deputy Lieutenant, into the Martello Fields.

During the inspection in the arena she was accompanied by Cllr. Mark Brown, Mayor of Seaford, Laurie Holland President of the Seahaven Branch, and Burma Star Veteran and Seaford Resident, Major Peter Gadsdon MBE MC, President of the Alfriston and District Branch of the Royal British Legion.

Following the inspection Mrs Wilson gave an inspiring address recounting the meaning of the day. The Seahaven Branch’s Chaplain, Revd David Farrant, lead the assembly in prayers before giving the exhortation. This was followed by Last Post and Reveille sounded by two musicians from Seaford’s Silver Band.

Invited guests included the Mayors of Newhaven, Peacehaven, Telscombe and the Deputy Mayor of Lewes. Also present was the Chairman of Lewes District Council and the Deputy Chairman of East Sussex County Council. Guests, along with Veterans who had been on parade, were then treated to a buffet prepared by Seaford Baptist Church and the Seaford Charity, Waves.

Amongst the many stalls and facilities was the Tavern in a Tent organised by the two Seaford Rotary Clubs. Visitors could visit military stands as well as civilian ones, such as the Police, Coastguard, National Coastwatch Institute, Seaford Lifeguards and others representing many of the local charities. A funfair provided entertainment especially for the youngsters, who also had a chance to drive a mini-tank. Military buffs could also look at a number of military vehicles on display around the Field and see the machine gun on display by the Sussex Military History Society.

The crowds were entertained either side of the parade with music from the Seaford Rock and Jazz Orchestra, then displays by the dogs from the Fantastic Four Flyball Team, and then synchronised foot drill by the young Army and Air Force Cadets. A local Dance Group gave us a touch of glamour with modern dance, then Seaford Lifeguards put on a demonstration of rescue and resuscitation. Finally, Rob Willis gave his Elvis impression. For this he was dressed in American Army uniform and made a grand entrance into the Arena in a Second World War American Jeep.

Chairman of the organising committee, Major Bob Peedle MBE, said “The weather was just right, cloudy for much of the time, but no rain, and the sun came out to enhance the afternoon’s events. It was a great privilege to once again be involved with the Town Council in providing this tribute to the armed services, both those serving today as well as the veterans who have served King or Queen and Country in the past.”

Pictured above: The Inspecting Officer, Mrs Chantal Wilson DL, spoke to the veterans during her inspection of the parade.