June 29 2016.

This year’s Seahaven Veterans and Armed Forces day was a great success. It was opened at 11.00am by Seaford’s Mayor, Cllr. Lindsay Freeman and started with the cheerful and toe-tapping music of the Seaford Rock and Jazz Orchestra.

At 12.15 the parade of Veterans and service cadets formed up near the Martello Tower and marched past the Lord Lieutenant, Mr Peter Field, the Mayor of Seaford and the President of the Seahaven Branch of The Royal Society of St. George, Laurie Holland. Under the command of Major Bob Peedle MBE it was led by drummers from the Newhaven Squadron of the Air Training Corps, followed by the Standards then the Veterans, and detachments of the Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force and the Air Training Corps. The Seaford Town Crier, Peter White, went ahead with his bell and announced the approach of the parade.

On arrival in the arena, following prayers by the Rector of the Cuckmere Churches, Revd Daniel Merceron, a retired senior Army Chaplain, the parade was inspected. Each person on parade received a commemorative badge and veterans were treated to their first drink at the Tavern in the Tent by The Royal Society of St George. To welcome the Lord Lieutenant to the parade ground an impressive fanfare was sounded by four members of the Seaford Silver Band led by Christopher Goodchild. Witnessing the inspection were Maria Caulfield MP and many local civic dignitaries representing the County, District and Town Councils.

It was a pleasant surprise for the Sea Cadet Corps Unit, TS Defiance, based in Newhaven when following the parade, Nick Dutt, the Chairman of The Royal Society of St George’s Charitable Trust presented a cheque for £500 towards the cost of the repair of their field gun, for which they have been raising funds. This provides not just an historical connection, but it is valuable to train fitness and teamwork.

After the parade, invited guests and the veterans gathered in the marquee for refreshments, provided by Seaford Royal British Legion and the Seahaven Branch RSSG. Arena events then continued until later in the afternoon, including the Army Cadet’s KitKar display team, a drill display by a joint Air Training Corps and Army Cadet Force, a tug of war, a display of dancing and a display by Seaford Lifeguards, who also provided First Aid Cover for the event.

Around the field were a number of stalls from local charities, services and other organisations. It was a chance for such as the National Coastwatch Institute, who also operated the car park, to raise funds, as well as Help for Heroes, Royal British Legion, and many others. A selection of military vehicles were also on display.

Helping to marshal the roads for the parade were members of the Seaford Bonfire Society and a popular item again was the Seaford Martello Rotary who provided the Tavern in the Tent. Financial support for the day was provided by the MOD, Newhaven Town Council and Lewes District Council and Seaford Town Council is to be thanked for providing the logistic and administrative support. A special thanks goes to Brooklyn Hyundai and Badger Inks for being sponsors and to Sussex Print Services who printed the programme.

Surplus money from the day is to be donated to the Royal British Legion and SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity.

Seaford’s Mayor, Cllr. Lindsay Freeman said: "It was a real honour to be asked to open the Seahaven Veterans and Armed Forces Day. I very much enjoyed meeting all the Veterans and Cadets and was very impressed by the march past, faultless. I was so glad the rain kept off for most of the time and the short shower we had did not deter any of the assembled troops. I wish all the Cadets a long and happy future and I hope they continue in the Cadets. My thanks go to the Veterans for their attendance and I wish them well for the future."

President of the Seahaven Branch of The Royal Society of St .George said: “There are many highlights in the year of our branch, and this is definitely one of them. It is a privilege to help keep the Armed Forces and especially the youngsters of the cadets in the public eye and to pay tribute to the veterans who have all played their part in serving England and their Sovereign.”

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