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How Surrey and Hampshire is marking Armed Forces Day

14 minute read
How Surrey and Hampshire is marking Armed Forces Day

Published by Lettie Buxton at 6:00am 27th June 2020.

Councils across Surrey and Hampshire have been raising flags to mark Armed Forces Day today (27 June).

The annual event offers people a chance to show their support for the Armed Forces community.

But, many of the planned events in our area have had to be cancelled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The organisers of Armed Forces Day are encouraging people to pay tribute to the British Armed Forces community by sending a photo or video of themselves or their friends and colleagues saluting to Twitter, using @ArmedForcesDay and #SaluteOurForces, or to email it to armedforcesdayuk@gmail.com .

People are also urged to fly the flag and put up bunting.

One of those still set to mark Armed Forces Day is the county president for Royal British Legion Surrey and Deputy Lieutenant, Brigadier Paul Evans OBE.

As his father was a Scottish solider, he went to a Scottish military boarding school, before joining the army in 1967 and going to Sandhurst.

After several appointments in Germany, where he commanded a unit, Mr Evans went on to do a tour in Hong Kong at a "very exciting time".

He later returned to Staff College, Camberley, as an instructor, during which time he was deployed to the First Gulf War.

Mr Evans went on to become a Colonel in the Defence Warfare Organisation, before being promoted to Brigadier and commanding an army logistic training group in Deepcut.

He then did tour of duty in the Ministry of Defence and became the defence logistic director for the army.

After 34 years of active service, Mr Evans retired aged 50 and joined BAE Systems in Farnborough.

He retired from there three years ago.

The 70 year-old told Eagle Radio about how much it means to him that people still mark the day:

"It means a lot, actually, because I had - and still do have - great pride in my contribution as a serviceman.

"I know that serviceman today and all those in the past have the same pride.

"It's really nice to know that the community recognises that contribution.

"It's important [to still mark the day] because it provides us with an opportunity to thank the regular service men and women for their continuing outstanding contribution.

"Not only in the many operations that are running as we speak across the world, but also as we've seen so graphically on our televisions, the services being involved with the National Health Service and other government departments in the way that we're managing this terrible crisis.

"So they deserve huge praise for that."

Find out how your area is marking the day below:


This year, the borough council privately raised its flag on Monday (22 June) to mark the start of Armed Forces Week, without a ceremony.

The specially commissioned flag will remain flying up to and including Armed Forces Day.

Epsom & Ewell:

Armed Forces Flag Epsom & Ewell Borough Council

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council also raised the Armed Forces Day flag within the borough on Monday for the week preceding national Armed Forces Day.

In doing so, the borough has joined 10 Downing Street, government departments, local authorities across the UK and others in showing their support for the service personnel of our armed forces.

Mayor of Epsom & Ewell, Councillor Humphrey Reynolds said it provides us all with the opportunity to acknowledge and thank the men and women who make up the armed forces community, from currently serving troops to service families, veterans and cadets:

"In honour of the bravery of our service personnel and recognising the vital work they carry out to ensure our security, we normally raise the Armed Forces Day Flag in a special ceremony in Epsom Market Place.

"A ceremony is not possible this year, but we are proud to raise the flag as part of synchronised flag raising ceremonies across the whole of the UK."

The council will be posting a video of the flag raising event on its social media channels today.


Guildford flag raising

A flag was also raised by Guildford Borough Council in the castle grounds on Monday.

Deputy mayor, Cllr Marsha Moseley, council leader, Cllr Caroline Reeves, armed forces champion, Cllr Tom Hunt and Revd Canon Robert Cotton, the Rector of Holy Trinity and St Mary’s Church, were again joined by bugler Simon Persin to mark the occasion.

Armed Forces Day - Guildhall Clock

Guildford Cathedral is set to be illuminated red, white and blue this evening in honour of the men and women of the Armed Forces.

The lighting will be provided by Peachy Productions Ltd, the Surrey based events company that lit the Cathedral every Thursday night during lockdown to thank the NHS workers.

The cost of the Armed Forces Day illumination is being met by Aldershot Town Football Club and the Woking Asian Business Forum.

The Dean of Guildford, the Very Reverend Dianna Gwilliams, said:

"It was an enormous privilege for the cathedral to be lit blue every Thursday for almost three months, to thank those in the health profession and other key workers who have given so much on our behalf in hospitals and amongst the community during this worrying time.

"Now we have an opportunity to thank our Armed Forces in a similar way, and pay tribute to the men and women, as well as their families, who sacrifice so much to ensure that our country is safe and secure at all times.

"I am so very grateful to Peachy Productions for having provided the lighting all these weeks, and for the generosity of Woking Asian Business Forum and Aldershot Town Football Club and the for making the illumination possible this Saturday."


Although Hart District Council does not have any events planned to mark the occasion, they too are displaying the Armed Forces flag outside the council offices and promoting on social media.

A council spokesperson said "unfortunately, circumstances have curtailed what we would like to do".

Mole Valley:

The council chairman raised the Armed Forces flag at Mole Valley District Council’s Pippbrook offices on Monday.

It will be in place for the entire week.

Reigate and Banstead:

Reigate & Banstead Borough Council
Reigate & Banstead Borough Council 2

To mark the start of Armed Forces Week, the Mayor of Reigate & Banstead, Cllr Rosemary Absalom, observed the traditional flag raising ceremony outside the Town Hall in Reigate on Monday morning.

She said:

"The borough of Reigate & Banstead raise this flag to celebrate and honour all the members of Her Majesty's Armed Forces, veterans and cadets, who serve, have served and will serve our country, and the people and families who support them."

The Mayor is planning to publish a video message on her Facebook page today.


Runnymede Borough Council held a short outdoor ceremony at the start of the week leading to Armed Forces Day.

The mayor, Cllr Parshotam Sohi gave a reading, prayers were said and the Union flag raised.

Also present were Cllr Tom Gracey, the council’s armed forces champion, senior council staff, a representative from the Berkshire Yeomanry and from one of our local churches.

The flag will fly in Addlestone’s main street (Station Road) until after Armed Forces Day.


Rushmoor Borough Council

The borough council raised the Armed Forces Day flag in Princes Gardens in Aldershot on Monday.

The ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Rushmoor, Cllr Charles Choudhary, the mayor's chaplain, Revd George Newton, the Garrison Commander, Lt Col Paddy Baines, and Rushmoor Borough Council's military champion, Cllr Jacqui Vosper.

The council is also organising some other virtual Armed Forces Day activities for people to take part in, including a virtual singalong where everyone in Rushmoor has been invited to submit a film of them singing 'Pack Up' by Eliza Doolittle.

These films have been used to create a final montage film of everyone taking part which will be shared today.

They are also inviting people to send in their selfie salutes to say thank you to local troops.


Spelthorne BC

Spelthorne Borough Council marked the start of the week by releasing a video of their flag raising ceremony, with new Mayor of Spelthorne Cllr Colin Barnard, the council’s armed forces champion, Cllr Robin Sider BEM, chief executive Daniel Mouawad and bugler Richard Llewellyn in attendance.

The council will also be releasing a commemorative video today to express gratitude to the Armed Forces for the work they do at home and abroad.

Cllr Robin Sider BEM, a veteran himself and the borough’s armed forces champion, said:

"It is important that we recognise those serving in our Armed Forces community, especially as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

"The men and women serving today serve to keep our country safe at home and overseas.

"We are celebrating the day differently by releasing a video of our ceremony as the safety of the community is paramount during these difficult times.

"Today, I urge you to take a moment to reflect on the work of our Armed Forces both in modern times and throughout history.”

Surrey Heath:

Armed Forces Day flag raising ceremonySurrey Heath Borough Council
Mayor of Surrey Heath Cllr Pat Tedder with Lt Col Boryer of RMA Sandhurst and the Armed Forces Day flag
Mayor of Surrey Heath Cllr Pat Tedder with Lt Col Boryer of RMA Sandhurst and the Armed Forces Day flag

Surrey Heath Borough Council also raised a flag for the UK Armed Forces outside Surrey Heath House on Monday.   

The Mayor of Surrey Heath Cllr Pat Tedder, Lt Col Boryer MBE RGR of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, council leader Cllr Alan McClafferty, and the council's acting chief executive Tim Pashen were at the ceremony.

The Mayor’s Chaplain, Rev Dan Stork Banks, of St Saviour Church Valley End and St Lawrence Church Chobham, officiated at the ceremony.  

Cllr Tedder said that by raising the flag "we formally acknowledge the role undertaken by the dedicated personnel of our armed forces, at home and abroad, in peacetime and in conflict".

This year’s Fly the Flag ceremony was reduced in size because of the coronavirus restrictions, with those in attendance observing social distancing. 


The district council will continue to fly the Armed Forces flag outside the council offices until Monday (29 June).

They will not be holding, or attending, any events this year because of the current social distancing measures.

But, the council is encouraging residents to pay tribute to the armed forces from their own homes, by flying their own flags, bunting and banners and joining in with online celebrations.


Waverley BC Mayor
From left to right: Petty Officer Jemma Mugridge, Farnham Sea Cadets, the mayor’s consort, Cllr Peter Marriott and the Mayor of Waverley, Cllr Penny Marriott.

The Mayor of Waverley, Councillor Penny Marriott, showed her support for the military community as the Armed Forces Day Flag was raised outside the council offices in Godalming this week.

The usual Armed Forces Day celebrations have been scaled back this year because of the coronavirus outbreak and the council did not hold a ceremony.

In order to maintain social distancing, the mayor and her consort, Cllr Peter Marriot, marked the occasion with Petty Officer Jemma Mugridge, representing the Farnham Sea Cadets – one of the mayor’s chosen charities.

The mayor said:

"In the difficult times that we find ourselves, I think it is more important than ever to recognise the fantastic and selfless work the UK Armed Forces do to make the world safer for us – and to provide a much needed morale boost by showing our support for them and their families. 

"Right now our service men and women are busy working around the world, promoting peace, delivering aid, tackling drug smugglers, providing security and fighting terrorism.

"Let’s show them how much they are appreciated by celebrating this Armed Forces Day and if you can, by making a donation to a charity that supports our troops, veterans or their families."


A flag will continue to fly above the Civic Offices in Gloucester Square until Monday.

But, the usual flag raising ceremony and veteran's parade in Woking town centre will not be taking place because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Supporters are instead invited to join nationwide celebrations online and are also being encouraged to host virtual parties and drop a line to serving, or veteran, friends and loved ones, to show appreciation for the work they do.

Speaking about the event, Mayor of Woking, Cllr Beryl Hunwicks, said:

"The Armed Forces Day flag is an important visual symbol of our support for the military personnel who have served, and continue to serve, our country, and we are proud to fly it above the Civic Offices each year.

"Although we are unable to congregate together to mark Armed Forces Day this year, I encourage everyone across the borough to show their respect by participating in the online activities being organised by Armed Forces Day, and why not get in touch with friends or family who are in service, or veterans, to show them you are thinking of them."

Hampshire County Council:

The Armed Forces flag is also flying outside Hampshire County Council’s headquarters buildings this year.

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson Esq. said:

"Normally on this day, we would gather together outside the Great Hall, in Winchester, to honour our Armed Forces with a parade and raise the Armed Forces flag.

"While the event won’t be possible this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Armed Forces Flag will continue to fly in Hampshire as a symbol of our high esteem for our Armed Forces and our immense gratitude for their valuable work to protect the UK and her interests, both at home and overseas.

"I would like to take this opportunity to offer my personal thanks to our local regiments who have been providing much needed support with the current COVID-19 crisis, helping our communities to stay safe and deliver vital supplies and healthcare."

Hampshire has all three forces represented in the county and is home to more than 20,000 serving members. 

The Armed Forces flag will be flown outside the Great Hall, Winchester, until sunset on Sunday (28 June). 

Surrey County Council:

A flag raising ceremony took place outside Guildford Cathedral, with Michael More-Molyneux, Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey raising the Armed Forces Day flag with the Very Reverend Dianna Gwilliams, Dean of Guildford.

They were joined by Mr Shahid Azeem DL, High Sheriff of Surrey, Mr Anthony Samuels, chairman of Surrey County Council, Colonel John Baynham, Deputy Commander of 11 Infantry Brigade South East and Steve Owen-Hughes, chief fire officer and veteran.

Mr More-Molyneux said:

"Armed Forces Day is a chance for us all to show our support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community.

"From currently serving troops to service families, ex-service personnel and veterans and cadets.

"Surrey is considered very much by the Ministry of Defence as a ‘military friendly’ county and as Lord-Lieutenant, I am very proud of that reputation.

"Having seen at first hand, our local forces supporting the NHS in the fight against COVID-19, I am very pleased to give a very public ‘thank you’ to them all today for a job really well done."

Surrey hosts four army bases with 6,200 service personnel and their families, as well as 1,274 service children living in Surrey, four reserve centres with over 200 reservists and nearly 2,750 tri-service cadets.

The county is also home to more than 42,000 ex-service personnel and veterans.

Surrey County Council is asking residents to post photographs of them and their loved ones who have served our country to their Facebook and Twitter.