Two special community events are being planned in Darlington to pay tribute to members of the armed forces, past and present.

A Raise the Flag ceremony will be held in the town on Monday 24 June, to celebrate Reserves Day (26 June) and Armed Forces Day (29 June).

There will be a short parade of representatives from the Armed Forces, Military Associations and civic guests starting from the Town Hall at 10.20am to the Market Square and a flypast by a Hawk aircraft from RAF Leeming, at 10.30am.

The Mayor Cllr Nick Wallis will then lead the Raise the Flag ceremony in the Market Square, to recognise and say a thank you to all servicemen and women and reservists, present and past, for the contribution they have made to keep this country safe and safeguard freedom and democracy.

Local schools have been invited to attend and members of the public are encouraged to join in and show their support. Anyone who wishes to take part should be at the Market Square by 10.15am.

The annual Proms in the Park event will then follow on Sunday 30 June at the Bandstand in Darlington’s South Park, from 3pm. The free event offers music for all tastes and ages and revellers are encouraged to bring along their own picnic and chairs.

Proms in the Park will feature The Royal Signals (Northern) Band, 102 Battalion Reme Pipes & Drums and Central & East Yorks Wing ATC Sector 1 Band and guest vocalist John Haigh with music from the films Where Eagles Dare, The Greatest Showman and Mary Poppins as well as Tom Jones, Doris Day and more traditional classics.

There will also be performances by pupils from local schools – Federation of Mowden Schools, Reid Street Primary School, St Augustine’s RC Primary School and High Coniscliffe CofE Primary School – representing Darlington Schools Eurovision Choir; a dance display from Jan Vickers’ Zumba GOLD fitness class and a ‘Last Night Party’ Colours and Standards ceremony.

Sponsored by The Northern Military Music Group, Modus and Darlington Borough Council, the event will also support ABF – The Soldiers’ Charity.

The Mayor said:

“I’m honoured to lead the community’s tribute to our Armed Forces and Reserve Forces, past and present – it’s important that their efforts be recognised – without them we would not be able to enjoy the life and freedoms that we have.

“I hope as many people as possible will join us as we Raise the Flag in their honour and will enjoy our special Proms in the Park event to help celebrate.

“No tickets are needed for the Proms, just bring along your chairs, picnics and your flags to wave and join in the fun.”

Jake Tompkins, Managing Director at Modus, which sponsors the Proms in the Park event, added:

“We’re delighted to once again support Proms in the Park, to help mark Armed Forces Day and Reserves Day.  It is a fabulous community event which we are proud to continue to support, and we hope that it is enjoyed as much as in previous years.”

For more details log onto the website at www.darlington.gov.uk/events or call 01325 406990.