National Arboretum visit for hundreds

Lord Peter Smith  - Leader of Wigan Council
Lord Peter Smith - Leader of Wigan Council
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AN estimated 500 people from the borough including the families of armed forces personnel killed in recent wars are to make an emotional trip this weekend to the National Memorial Arboretum.

Organised by Wigan Council, the visit will see a fleet of coaches travel to the Arboretum in Staffordshire to pay a special tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

In the delegation will be the families of armed forces personnel killed while serving including Sgt Steven Darbyshire, Kingsman Darren Deady, Corporal Liam Elms, Kingsman Jamie Lee Hancock, Able Seaman Stephen Heyes, Lieutenant Commander Ian Thomas Molyneux and Sgt James Prescott.

In what will be a moving occasion the families will lay wreaths as part of a memorial service lead by Canon Ray Hutchinson and there will be a parade and military music. The Mayor of Wigan Borough Councillor Susan Loudon will lay a wreath on behalf of the borough.

As well as the families representatives of Wigan Sea Cadets, Air Cadets, Territorial Army, Wigan Youth Zone and various Royal British Legion Associates and veterans will be in attendance.

The National Arboretum honours those who have served the nation and covers 150 acres and has 50,000 trees.

The Armed Forces Memorial at the Arboretum was officially opened by The Queen in 2007 and records the names of the 16,000 men and women of the armed forces who have been killed on duty since World War 2.

The Arboretum is a nationally significant focus for remembrance, providing recognition and thanks for those who have given their lives in the service of the country.

Lord Peter Smith, leader of Wigan Council, said: “This visit will be a very moving and special occasion for all those who are taking part.

“It will be particularly memorable for the bereaved families who will pay tribute to their loved ones at this very special place.

“The numbers of people involved in this trip indicates the level of respect and regard for the armed forces in Wigan Borough.”

The visit takes place on Sunday 12th July. The inspiration for the visit came from the veterans of the borough.

Wigan Council has organised it as part of its commitment to the armed forces through the Armed Forces Covenant.

Businesses and organisations interested in signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant to support the armed forces are encouraged to contact the council via: Linda.Fisher@wigan.gov.uk