Mansfield District Council has paid its respects to the Armed Forces community after the town's annual celebration event had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation.
Thousands of people had been expected to enjoy a family day out in Mansfield at the annual Armed Forces Day celebration on Sunday 28 June, in the Market Place.
But with social distancing rules still in place and mass gatherings not allowed, the event had to be called off.
Instead, an Armed Forces Day flag was raised at the Civic Centre by Executive Mayor Andy Abrahams so that passers-by could reflect and give thanks to those who served the country from the safety of their homes.
The flag, a Union Jack with the wording, Armed Forces Day, show your support, will be flown all weekend as a mark of respect.
The council is also lighting up the Bentinck Memorial in green, the colour most associated with the Army, to mark Armed Forces Day from today until Sunday (Friday 26 June to Sunday 28 June).
Council workers wanted to share stories about their family wartime heroes, too, so photos and messages of thanks will be published on the council’s social media channels throughout the weekend.
One post shows a photo of Don Hutsby who served in the Household Cavalry as a Life Guard from 1963 to 1975.
Don’s daughter, Diane Revill, an Information and Monitoring Officer in the council's Planning Policy team, told how her father trained one of the Queen’s drum horses, Cicero.
The horse became famous and had a book written about him and BBC film made about him in the 1970s, in which Trooper Hutsby was mentioned.
Sunday 28 June, as well as being the last day of Armed Forces Week, marks 100 years since the Royal Corps of Signals was formed.
To mark the special anniversary, former Royal Signals soldier, Dave Wilkinson, who was medically discharged from the army in 2017, following almost 13 years' service, decided to take on a gruelling '100 for 100' challenge in his rugby wheelchair.
The challenge consists of doing 100km in one day - 250 laps of a running track in 12 hours. Dave has already completed 100 x 10km sprints, so he will have completed 200km, in total, by Sunday.
Elected Mayor Andy Abrahams will be there to congratulate him at the end of his challenge.
He said: “It is very important that we, as a community, recognise the important part the Armed Forces played and continue to play in maintaining the peace and security of this country.
"We hope people will join us in giving them a big pat on the back by sharing your own messages of thanks with us on our social media pages.
“If the public would like to support Dave in his 100 for 100 challenge, they can make a donation to the Royal Signals Charity via Dave’s fundraiser page.”
The council's Armed Forces Champion, Cllr John Smart, added: “Armed Forces Day has become a very important date in the calendar and the residents of Mansfield and the council have always been at the forefront in supporting our Armed Forces especially our local Mercian Regiment.
"It also allows us to celebrate the work of ex-service associations and highlight how funds raised are used to support veterans and their families. We owe our freedom and security to the dedication of these outstanding men and women because they were and are ready to risk their lives for us.”
Dave Wilkinson, of Mansfield Woodhouse, said: “As a former Royal Signals JNCO (Junior Non Commissioned Officer), I thought it would be great to try to give something back to the Royal Signals Charity which supported me after my amputation. They also support many other Royal Signals soldiers and veterans, too.
"I know we are all currently under challenging times, but if anyone is able to support my sponsorship page, whether by sharing it or making a donation or even taking part in a 100 for 100 challenge themselves, this would help the Royal Signals Charity in both creating awareness and raising funds to support others, too.”
See Dave’s sponsorship page at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DavidWilkinson53 (link opens in new window).
Follow the council’s Facebook page at to see Armed Forces hero messages at https://www.facebook.com/mymansfielduk (link opens in new window).