What a remarkable weekend we had last week. Not just because of the fantastic sunshine (for once) but also because it was Tameside’s annual opportunity to thank the men and women who have served, and those who are serving, in our armed forces.

It was the 11th Armed Forces Day, which was instituted by the previous Labour Government to extend the Veterans’ Day celebrations to include those currently serving as well. Denton has always hosted both of these particular celebrations after the then Denton Councillor, Martin Wareing, convinced the then Leader of the Council, Roy Oldham, that the borough should be doing its bit to mark the day.

I firstly want to extend a BIG thank you to Tameside Council, now led by Denton’s Brenda Warrington, for continuing this tradition in the town. At a time when Council budgets are very heavily constrained, it’s nice that the borough – both Council and townsfolk – can still come together for this occasion. I also want to thank all the various groups and organisations for their involvement too.

But Armed Forces Day is more than a collective ‘thank you’; it’s a reminder that, as a nation, we owe these men and women (and their immediate families) a real debt of gratitude. For the freedoms we all enjoy, and sometimes abuse, have been fought for by these men and women and their forebears.

That’s why I am a big supporter of the Tameside Armed Forces Community, a voluntary organisation that supports service men and women all year round. From welfare advice to socialising, housing help to family support and employment assistance, the small TASC team works with people and organisations across the borough to identify and support former and currently serving personnel and offer them any help they might need.

These people are putting the Armed Forces Covenant into practice. Heroes helping other heroes. I applaud you all, and as we look back on this year’s glorious Armed Forces Day, thank you all.

For more information about Tameside Armed Services Community see: www.tamesideasc.org.uk

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