Veterans’ Day under threat over funding

Armed Forces Day at Leigh Sports Village:  Standards lowered during the two minutes silence
Armed Forces Day at Leigh Sports Village: Standards lowered during the two minutes silence

ONE of the region’s biggest events for members of the Armed Forces, which was held in Leigh last year, is under threat because of a lack of funding.

For several year, Wigan Borough Veterans’ Council has hosted the event for people all over the region to remember members of the Armed Forces past and present.

Last year the day, at Leigh Sports Village, was attended by more than 8,000 people. But so far it has had little funding confirmed and if nothing comes forward then the event will have to be cancelled.

Charity bosses are hoping that it will not come to that and that they will find the £10,000 needed to run the event, which is usually held in June.

In previous years the day has been funded by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Wigan Council, but bosses say they have still not had word from either body as to whether they will receive any cash.

While the MoD does not release information about funding until March, funds from the cash-strapped council have usually been confirmed by now, leaving the day’s organisers worried about what is going to happen.

Last year several councillors dipped into their Brighter Borough cash to help fund the event and it is hoped that will happen again this year.

Des White, chairman of the charity, said: “It’s a way to show our gratitude for everything the Armed Forces do for us, so it’d be such a shame to cancel it, but at this stage we’re hopeful that we’ll get funding.”

The charity is considering all lines of funding including from a private company or donor.

Wigan Council’s Executive Director for Place Gillian Bishop, said: “These are difficult times and we appreciate many community groups and organisations may be struggling. Whilst we have not been contacted by the association about this, we would be happy to discuss it further with them.”

Anyone who would like to make a donation should call 506373.

What do you think? Should Wigan Council and the Ministry of Defence be funding the Veterans’ Day event despite the need to save cash? Why not log on to leighreporter.co.uk and join the debate online.