It’s all happening on St Helens Borough Council’s social media channels across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, with a range of events shared throughout the day, including speeches and readings from the Mayor Councillor Sue Murphy and the council’s Armed Forces Champion Councillor Lynn Clarke.
The Friends of St Helens Cemetery, together with the Veterans of the Saints Community Foundation, will be talking about their work to take care of local war graves.
The Armed Forces Day flag will fly above St Helens Town Hall, while the Steve Prescott Bridge will be illuminated in red, white and blue that night.
St Helens Borough Council’s Leisure Services are also offering all serving personnel and veterans free access to centres, fitness suites and swimming pools for seven days starting on Armed Forces Day, with valid identification. Serving personnel and veterans can also take advantage of discounted GoActive memberships, available year-round.
There’s also a call out for Armed Forces personnel and veterans to take part in St Helens Borough’s Oral History Project – an exciting project started in October 2020 that will enable the Archive Service to develop its collections, help to preserve local memories and create a broad picture of the borough’s heritage.
As part of the project, the Archive Service would like to interview serving personnel regular and reservist, veterans and cadets of all ages on film or with just audio. For more information please contact the Library Archive Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01744 671748. If you would like to donate any items to the Archive, you can get in touch directly using the details above.
In the run up to the day, residents are encouraged to share their Armed Forces photos and memorabilia via an online gallery at www.padlet.com/StHelensCouncil/ArmedForcesDay2021, along with memories of Armed Forces Day in years gone by.
In addition, you can add your memories and photos to the St Helens Community Archive, at www.sthelenscommunityarchive.org.uk. It’s an online, interactive archive that documents the heritage and culture of the borough, as told by the people who live here.
Residents can also look out for activities in local libraries, colouring sheets for children and a list of book recommendations curated specifically for Armed Forces Day, shedding light on the fictional stories and real-life experiences from serving personnel and veterans across the years and through wartime.
Councillor Lynn Clarke, St Helens Borough Council’s Armed Forces Champion, said:
“The community really looks forward to Armed Forces Day every year, as a celebration of our serving personnel, veterans, and cadets their dedication and their sacrifice, but this year the day takes on extra importance. In normal life, it can often be easy for us not to consider the efforts of the Armed Forces past and present, being far removed from us by time or by distance in conflicts abroad.
“But over the last year, our Armed Forces have worked to serve and protect residents here at home, with the distribution of PPE, setting up local community testing stations and supporting the roll out of Test and Trace.
“We want to thank the personnel, veterans and cadets that supported our borough throughout the pandemic, and while it is regrettable that our usual borough events will not be able to take place due to the current risks and restrictions, I am glad that we can still mark the day safely in so many ways, and I hope residents will get involved to show their support.”
For more information about the virtual event and further Armed Forces Day resources, visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/armedforcesday.