Although I am not a resident of North Yorkshire I am involved with the Royal Engineers Association (Whitby Branch) and also 740 Squadron (Whitby) Air Cadets, both based at Whitby and as such spend quite a lot of my time in the area.
I am writing on this occasion to voice my disgust at the poorly supported Armed Forces Day held in Whitby on Saturday 30 June.
I am of the understanding that arrangements and planning by the various units (Navy, Army, RAF et al) to erect their relevant displays on the quayside where sabotaged by the council, a few days prior to the planned event, lifting a few paving slabs and cordoning off the area. Therefore all of the stands had to be relocated in Pannett Park which was totally unsuited for the occasion.
As I walked into the town, which was very busy on the day, I spoke with many visitors who were aware of Armed Forces Day but unaware that the event was taking place in the town. Those that knew the event was on were unable to attend as they had their pet dog with them which are not allowed in the park, whilst others, especially the elderly knew that the walk up the hill would have been too much for them, restrictions that were unavoidable and unnecessary.
A lot of people were only aware of the event when the Spitfire made a flypast mid afternoon.
Armed Forces Day is a national event, designed to thank and appreciate the UK’s Armed Forces. It should be an opportunity for everyone in the country to pay tribute to the efforts and commitment that individuals from all walks of life have sacrificed for the liberty of this country.
Armed Forces Day should not be used by councillors as some political jemmy because Scarborough is jealous of Whitby and would like to attract more visitors. Whitby will always attract visitors as it is steeped in history and located on a beautiful part of our coast.
Armed Forces Day 2012 at Whitby was a very poor show, the council, whether it be Whitby or Scarborough (who held their event the week before, and as I am aware the only one in the country to do so) should hang their heads in shame and not allow this to happen again.
Keith Ingledew, Durham Road, Brotton by email