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July 24 2015.

Bob Peedle reports:

A splendid sun shone on splendid event on Saturday the 27th of June. This was a great relief to the members of the organising committee of the Seahaven Veterans and Armed Forces Day, who had been preparing for the event for some months. It is organised by Seaford Town Council and the Seahaven Branch of The Royal Society of St. George for the whole of Lewes District with surrounding towns and villages.

The great weather meant that possibly a few thousand visitors crowded into the Martello Fields at Seaford to see the parade and arena events and to visit the many stalls, including a fun fair for the youngsters. There were food outlets available for visitors and the two Seaford Rotary Clubs enhanced the refreshments available with their Tavern in a Tent, where veterans were invited to take their first drink on the house. First thing during the day, the young Mayor of Seaford visited all the veterans on parade and those who could not march to give them a special voucher for their first drink.

The day started at 11am when the Mayor of Seaford opened the event. This as immediately followed by music and song from the Rock and Jazz Orchestra which continued up until midday when the call for veterans and cadets to 'get fell in' was made.

Prompt at 12.30 the parade, led by drummers from the Newhaven Squadron of the Air Training Corps, marched off. They were followed by a contingent of Standards, then a company of veterans and finally the cadets from the Sea Cadet Corps and the Air Training Corps, both of which have their headquarters in Newhaven. The salute was taken by the inspecting officer, Derek Stevens DL accompanied by the Mayor of Seaford, Cllr David Argent and President of the Seahaven branch of The Royal Society of St George, Laurie Holland. Witnessing the parade were Maria Caulfield MP, the Chair of Lewes District Council, the Mayor of Telscombe and the Deputy Mayors of Newhaven and Peacehaven.

The parade halted in the Martello Fields where after prayers led by Revd Vickie Martin from Seaford Baptist Church, there was an inspection of veterans and cadets followed by an address from the Inspecting Officer. He said that it was a special privilege to take on this role on behalf of the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, and how smart and impressive the parade looked. He spoke of the vital role that the Armed Forces undertake for the security of our country and the world.

Following the parade's dismissal, events continued in the arena to entertain the large crowds. This started with the drums of the Air Training Corps giving a display of their skills then Rob Willis, who earlier had taken charge of the contingent of Standard Bearers as well as carrying the Standard of St George, changed into the uniform of a US GI for his excellent and now famous tribute to Elvis Presley. Dance and fitness was on display then with 'Up The Tempo' followed by Peter Gwillam who displayed some of the kit of the Seaford lifeguards and explained how they helped ensure safety in Seaford Bay. Lastly Wayne from Forces Fit got a large number of the audience active in the arena with a cut-throat tug of war competition, which proved great fun. Major Bob Peedle closed the arena proceedings with a thank you to all those who had supported the event, especially those who had taken part in the parade, in the arena and at the many stalls.

The organising committee was greatly helped to meet the up-front expenses of the day with generous grants from Lewes District Council as well as the Town Councils of Newhaven and Telscombe. Seaford Town met the costs of administration and publicity as well as providing the venue free of charge. When all income, including that from the sale of programmes and other donations received is known, the committee will distribute any surplus money to the three service cadet units to help them in their vital work for the youth of the area.

Pictured: The parade under the command of Major Bob Peedle MBE, marched off led by the drums of the Air Training Corps followed by the Standards then a company of veterans followed by the cadets from the Sea Cadet Corps and the Air Training Corps.

* Apologies for the late publication of this report. Sadly it got lost in the ever-growing Haven News inbox. Our fault. Haven News.