When you think about it, the majority of South Yorkshire folk have a link to the armed forces in one way or another.
There will be those whose relatives served in years long gone; some may be veterans themselves from the Falklands or other conflicts; and others may have children in the cadets or active service.
From military defence to international peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts, the British Armed Forces have become the backbone of Great Britain and are a humble reminder of the strength they continue to show.
To celebrate the armed forces past and present and show the community’s gratitude towards them, Penistone will be hosting its inaugural Armed Forces Show on Saturday 24th June at the Penistone Showground.
Along with nationwide revelry to salute our forces for all they do, Armed Forces Day encourages communities up and down the country to get together for a morale-boosting day brimming with Great British spirit.
In Penistone, the event is the only military show of its kind to be taking place in South Yorkshire and promises to be a fun-filled day for all the family.
Organised by volunteers from Penistone and the surrounding areas, many of whom have military backgrounds themselves, the event marks the first of many for the area. What set out as an idea from a small town gala has since cannon-balled into an almighty day-long event fuelled by the support of local businesses and councils.
The Armed Forces Day team, who volunteer their time to put on the biggest military show in our area, include civilians connected to the armed services and former members of the Army, RAF, Royal Marines and the Royal Navy. These veterans have collectively been in operations and peacekeeping duties all over the world including the Middle East, the Balkans, Cold War Operations in Germany and the Falklands.
Scores of other veterans from around our region are descending on Penistone volunteering their time to help out on the day.
The gates to the 35,000 capacity arena opens at 10.30am with market stalls filled with food, drink and military collectables such as beret badges and decommissioned weapons.
At 1100 hours, join the cadets, reserves and veterans from land, sea and air as they parade through the market town to pay their respects at the war memorial by St John the Baptist Church.
Following a simple salute, the troop, headed up by bag pipers and joined by 12 military vehicles, will make their way up to the showground to officially open the event with the raising of the flags and national anthem at midday.
Reenact an artillery siege from World War Two with a 25lb field gun demonstration by The Garrison military history group. See what life was like in the British training camps for a young lad conscripting to fight for King and country.
Be a part of the action and join the 4th Yorkshire Barnsley Burma Reserves in safe shooting ranges, assault courses and military-themed challenges from Barnsley’s Team Activ.
Step inside the mobile museum and see the relics of the wars with some interesting finds throughout. Brought by the Airborne Comrades Association, made up of Barnsley’s ex-parachute regiment veterans, they will also be bringing vintage military vehicles including a Sabra Tank to show how the infantry land combat was supported.
Also on board are the both the Royal and Merchant Navy, with taster sessions on knot tying from the most basic to elusive loops.
Marching to the same beat, Barnsley’s Sea Cadet Band will be making their way from TS Diomede on Racecommon Road along with Darton-based Yorkshire Military Band who will be performing throughout the day.
And get ready for a spectacular sight in the skies as the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight passes over Penistone with the most famous and iconic aircraft from WW2, the Lancaster Bomber, Spitfire and Hurricane all taking part.
During the afternoon be sure to grab a pint from the Stancill Brewery pop-up bar who have brewed a special seasonal ale for this year.
To mark the 35th anniversary of the sinking of HMS Sheffield, Stancill’s newest ale, Shiny Sheff, is named after the prolific Navy ship which was hit with an Argentine missile during the Falklands war in May 1982.
Called the Shiny Sheff due to its stainless steel fittings, Stancill’s newest commemorative brew has been granted by the survivors and their families and will be served in Parliament if agreed.
The day ends at 1600 when the bugle player will call the Beating Retreat and a mass marching band will conclude the show.
All the day’s attractions and stalls will be raising money for veterans’ charities, Combat Stress and SSAFA which provide lifelong community, well-being and mental health support to ex-servicemen and women and their families.