Saturdays Armed Forces Day in Ringwood has been hailed as a great success by the organisers and visitors on the day.

Crowds were left reeling from the firing of muskets and cannons being demonstrated by volunteers from Nothe Fort, a Weymouth based charitable group and music displays from Ringwood pipe band. There was plenty to do for young and old alike as they took part in Circus Workshops, made planes, rode fair rides, watched and watched displays.

WW1 re-enactors recruited youngsters as soldiers and cooked up treats for people between displays in the arena area. Organiser Mandy Oldfield said ‘the weather has been absolutely brilliant for us and the crowds were amazing and I have nothing but positive comments all day, I hope we will do even better next year’.

This is the first event of this type in Ringwood and there were re-enactors, lots of vintage military vehicles, talks from the Normandy Veterans and support from SSAFA, Combat Stress and the War Widows Fund.

Local MP Desmond Swayne was introduced to crowds by Councillor Christine Ford at the start of the day and stressed how important it is for people to support our service men and women. He also suggested that Ringwood is getting a bit of a reputation as the ‘Festival Town’ of the New Forest.

Cllr Thierry at the Armed Forces Day

Cllr Thierry at the Armed Forces Day

The Mayor Councillor Michael Thierry officially opened the event and said ‘I hope people will enjoy the day and support the activities by taking part and thanked town council staff for organising the day’ which was then re-enforced by the first firing of a cannon for the day.

It is hoped the event will grow in size each year, with the next event planned for the 25th June 2016 all leading up to the celebrations for 2018 Armistice Day.