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Banbridge will not host Armed Forces Day 2021 after new venue confirmed

ABC Council had been forced to cancel the big event in June due to Covid-19

Armed Forces Day

Banbridge will not host Armed Forces Day in 2021.

The event had been due to take place in the County Down town this year, at the end of June.

But it was one of a number of main calendar events which had to be scrapped due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The council – when the decision was taken to axe the summer programme – had expected it would be in a position to secure Armed Forces Day for 2021 instead.

This has not been the case, however.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has instead confirmed that it has secured the 2021 event and it will be held in the town of Carrickfergus.

Banbridge’s role as host for 2020 had come after a notice of motion asking that the possibility of staging Armed Forces Day in the ABC Council area was approved back in 2018.

The man who brought the motion was Ulster Unionist Alderman Glenn Barr, who had said he was “over the moon” at the decision.

But now that joy has been short-lived as a new location has been secured.

Alderman Barr said it had been “difficult decision but one of necessity” in cancelling the Banbridge parade and he wished Carrichfergus “every success in hosting this prestige event”.
He added: “I am, like many of you, extremely disappointed that Banbridge won’t be hosting next year, but all being well we will be in 2022.”

The Mid and East Antrim Borough previously hosted Armed Forces Day in 2015, with a number of events taking place throughout the area.

The council said it was “once again delighted to be the principal host for the 2021 celebration”.

Mayor Peter Johnston said: “I am proud to announce that Mid and East Antrim has been chosen as the host venue for the Regional Armed Forces Day 2021 celebrations.

“This is a prestigious honour for our borough, particularly as we mark the Centenary of Northern Ireland, and reinforces the long-held tradition of the borough’s support for our Armed Forces.

“I was delighted last month to be able to welcome the First Minister, Arlene Foster, along with Junior Minister Gordon Lyons, and Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mr David McCorkell, as we hoisted the Armed Forces Flag, and look forward to planning for next year’s celebrations.

“We are, of course, mindful that any event is subject to the Coronavirus pandemic and the various restrictions set down by the Northern Ireland Executive, and will adhere to those at all times.”

Council Chief Executive, Anne Donaghy, added: “Mid and East Antrim has a proud history of supporting the efforts of our Armed Forces, past and present, and it is an honour to be asked to host the 2021 Armed Forces Day Regional Celebrations.

“The Royal Navy chose Carrickfergus to be one of a small number of harbours to welcome the summer deployment of the Royal Navy’s P2000 vessels this week, and we are delighted that members of the public were able to take in this fascinating display along our shoreline.

“We are certainly living through very difficult and uncertain times due to the coronavirus pandemic, but we are keen to work alongside the Ministry of Defence and Northern Ireland Reserved Forces and Cadet Association, to ensure that we can deliver an event of this scale safely and in accordance with the public health guidelines set down by the Northern Ireland Executive.”


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