Larne set to co-host Armed Forces Day

Members of the Armed Forces parade past the Town Hall in Carrick   INCT 46-464-RM

Members of the Armed Forces parade past the Town Hall in Carrick INCT 46-464-RM

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Plans to involve Larne in this year’s Armed Forces Day celebrations have been welcomed by local elected representatives.

The prolific event, which has become synonymous with Carrickfergus in recent years, gives the public the opportunity to recognise the contribution of serving personnel, veterans, reservists and cadets.

This year, Mid and East Antrim has been chosen to host the prestigious regional event.

And in a break from tradition, the 2015 celebrations will be spread over the course of a weekend, with Larne, Carrick and Ballymena all having a role to play in the festivities.

Mid and East Antrim District Council has agreed to host the event, which will commence with a maritime-focused celebration at the waterfront area in Carrickfergus on Friday, June 19.

The main event is due to take place in Ballymena on Saturday, June 20 and will feature an all-day programme, opening with a parade through the town to the Ballymena Show Grounds for a Drumhead Service and welcome ceremony.

The proposed finale event will be held in Larne on Sunday, June 21 and will include a suitably reflective church service with military music support and tri-service Senior Military Representation.

Mid and East Antrim DUP Councillor Gordon Lyons told the Times: “I am delighted that we will be hosting a weekend of events that will not only be of great significance in terms of tourism, culture and economic development, but will recognise the service of those in the Armed Forces.”

Ulster Unionist Cllr Mark McKinty said he welcomed the council’s decision to host the celebrations, but added: “I feel the main event should have been hosted in Carrick rather than Ballymena, due to Carrick’s strong military connections.”