COMMUNITY leaders and armed forces personnel joined together to fly the flag for the services at a special ceremony in Richmond.

Richmondshire District is home to over 7,000 soldiers plus their families at Catterick Garrison with a further 3,000 due to move in over the next 15 years as part of major expansion plans.

National Armed Forces Day is held on June 29 but the flag which was raised at the ceremony at The Friary Gardens in Richmond is being flown until July 1 to honour the importance of the services to the community.

Chairman of the Council, Councillor Stuart Parsons, led officials from the authority, accompanied by forces personnel.

Councillor Parsons gave the initial address and Colonel Peter Stitt, Commandant of the School of Infantry replied on behalf of the armed forces. They were joined by veterans, civic leaders, councillors, representatives from the Police, St John’s Ambulance and Royal British Legion, local school children from the Military Kids Club, Heroes, scouts and girl guiding associations, Help for Heroes, and forces personnel.

Cllr Parsons said: "It is important that our Armed Forces are shown support and gratitude for the huge personal sacrifices they have made and continue to make for our country. Service personnel are hugely important to Richmondshire district so to have so many people represented at the ceremony, including both present and past military personnel, made the event very special."