It has been confirmed that the North East Lincolnshire Armed Forces Weekend is going ahead this year.
The two-day free family event, organised by the voluntary Armed Forces Major Events Team (AFMET), has had to be heavily scaled back from original plans to meet public health and safety requirements. However, the weekend of Saturday and Sunday June 26 and 27 still promises to be a fitting tribute to, and celebration of, our military.
Held within the Meridian Showground, Cleethorpes and free to enter, fantastic displays, parades, and activities are being staged in two-hour timed slots to ensure that all requests from public health and the emergency services have been met. The event will also be supported by a food court and traders within Meridian Showground.
As a requirement of the planning for this year only, organisers have had to ticket the event, with limits on numbers for each session to ensure COVID safety. The free tickets can be collected now from The Blighty Café at The Knoll in Cleethorpes from 10am until 2pm from Monday to Saturday, any day up to the event. They can also be reserved for collection by emailing [email protected]
Over the weekend, shuttle buses will run between Grant Street car park and Thorpe Park, dropping off at the showground where social distanced entry and temperature checks will be operating. Masks will be required on the buses.
North East Lincolnshire’s Armed Forces Champion, Alex Baxter, was keen to stress that this alternative event was for just one-year only with plans already underway to bounce back, even bigger and better in 2022. He also hinted at a second 2021 event later this year, which is being looked at by Team.
“Over the years, AFMET has grown our hugely successful Armed Forces Weekend to be the largest free event along the whole of the east coast and we assure people that will return next year,” said Alex.
“However, as we are not entirely out of the woods, the weekend has been organised to accommodate current COVID regulations. As a result, we have changed our plans many times and reached a compromise to ensure our hugely popular event can go ahead. Whilst not what we had envisaged or originally planned for, we remain extremely positive that we have an event that will be well supported,” he added.
He highlighted how AFMET had been required to stage the weekend on the basis that the present COVID restrictions were still in place – with the event deemed to be too near to the ‘roadmap’ date of restriction easing on June 21 to plan it any other way.
Though the weekend is funded by the Armed Forces team with donations and sponsorship, it looks to North East Lincolnshire Council for support in its staging. Council leader Cllr Philip Jackson is delighted to see the event happening.
He said: “Of course we all wanted to see the truly spectacular parade and event that we have enjoyed in past years, and that we will enjoy again. But we are delighted that the team has made sure we can have this event again this year to thank our armed forces community. I’d like to personally thank them for working extremely hard to change their plans in what has been a year of adaptation and change. Please get your ticket, go along and support the 2021 weekend.”