BUILDING on the success of last year’s Armed Forces Day celebrations, this year, in Bury St Edmunds, the event spanned an entire weekend and saw more than 2,000 visitors.
On Friday, Coldplay tribute band Coldplace performed in the Abbey Gardens to raise money for Help For Heroes, with a second concert on Sunday by former BurySOUND winners.
The highlight of the weekend was on Saturday when the town turned out to cheer 15 Squadron RAF Regiment as it paraded from Angel Hill through Bury in celebration of its recent homecoming from a four-month tour of duty, in Afghanistan.
Group Captain Andy Hall presented medals to the squadron while the Mayor of St Edmundsbury, Cllr Christopher Spicer, presented the commanding officer with the Armed Forces Day flag, which had been flown from the Abbey Gate since Monday.
The Abbey Gardens hosted a family fun day with a 1940s feel, which included live music from The Rockabellas, Bury Concert Band, County Upper School Swing Band, 863 ATC Band and Stagecoach Theatre Arts School.
Visitors enjoyed picnics, looked at historical displays, browsed the vintage market’s 45 stalls selling clothes, jewellery and homeware and watched a Spitfire flypast.
Many children took the opportunity to explore the gardens’ new play area and were amused by entertainers and rides. But some were disappointed to learn that an Apache helicopter would not land in the gardens, as planned.
A council spokesperson said: “We decided to decline the offer of a visit by an Apache helicopter because although our risk assessments showed there was no danger to people or the helicopter, we could not get the same assurance about possible damage to the Grade I ruins from the powerful downwash. Nonetheless, a great day was had by all.”