Stephen Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon and East Thurrock, joined fellow MP Mark Francois, Basildon Mayor, Councillors, veterans, Cadets and supporters of the Armed Forces Covenant to pay tribute to the Armed Forces across the weekend (29-30 June 2019).
The Armed Forces Day Parade in Basildon (29 June 2019) saw politicians, the public, contingents of Sea, Army and Air Cadet units and veterans come together to show their appreciation for the risk and sacrifice made by our Armed Forces.
Basildon Council signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant in November 2012 with the aim to support the Armed Forces across Basildon, Billericay and Wickford. Basildon Council used the occasion to honor a war hero Don Sheppard, 99, from Laindon, who will be made a freeman of Basildon for his dedicated service to the country.
Stephen Metcalfe also attended a community event on Sunday (30 June 2019) at Coalhouse Fort alongside Cllr Deborah Huelin and Mayor Cllr Terry Picollo as part of Thurrock’s Armed Forces commemorations.
The event hosted a range of activities, displays and special exhibitions by local heritage service & community groups to mark Armed Forces Day and the 100th anniversary of the Signing of the Treaty of Versailles which formally brought an end to the First World War.
A special exhibition 'Peace – Making a New Europe' presented by Thurrock Museum Volunteers on the ground floor Gallery of the Thameside Complex remains open until Friday 5 July.
Cllr Deborah Huelin, portfolio holder for communities, said: "The amazing exhibitions at Coalhouse Fort are an important reminder of what we owe those who have served in the British Armed Forces.
There are a number of ways people can get involved and show their appreciation for these brave and committed men and women and their sacrifice to protect our values and freedom."
Stephen Metcalfe said: “This year commemorates the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landings. I am honored to have been invited by D-Day Veterans and the Mayor of Basildon Borough to review the parade and take the salute.
I am delighted that the Council have honored our own D-Day veteran Don Sheppard, 99, who took part in the Normandy landings, the North African campaign against Rommel and the tough battles through Sicily, and D-Day in support of the Canadians at Juno Beach.
Protecting our national security and way of life is always an important principle of any Government. In an unstable world, it is right to come together and pay tribute to those brave Armed Forces service personal who lay their lives on the line for the protection of our freedom.”