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The Essex Military Support Association have big plans for 2014
5:05pm Thursday 2nd January 2014 in News
A MILITARY support group has celebrated a groundbreaking year where they’ve raised the profile of the Armed Forces in Essex and raised vital funds for military charities.
The Essex Military Support Association has raised thousands of pounds for various causes, including Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.
The association was also behind the highly-successful Rayleigh Armed Forces Day celebration in June.
Nearly 14,000 people attended the event at the King George V playing fields, which raised more than £10,000.
It featured the hugely popular dog display team, while a number of flypasts by the Battle of Britain Spitfire, the soon to be retired RAF Sea King helicopter and an emotional fly over from an RAF Tornado thrilled the crowds.
Dan Rodgers, chairman of the association, said: “There was a belief within the team that we believed in the cause we were supporting, and the desire of the people of south Essex to support our Armed Forces and the incredible amount of hard work put into the event was well rewarded on the day by a superb turnout.”
Mr Rodgers explained the group’s events are important as it gives the public a chance to engage with military personnel and form an opinion different to what is put across on television.
He said: “We have often seen our troops parading through local towns, which is always a spectacle, however it doesn’t offer the opportunity to encourage the engagement between the military and public which we believe is so important to not only educate the public, but also make members of our Armed Forces feel part of the community they live in.”
The group raised a further £3,000 for Scotty’s Little Soldiers, Help for Heroes and the Poppy Appeal.
The association shows no sign of slowing down this year with a bigger and better Armed Forces Day event planned at Barleylands, in Billericay, in June, as well as helping out at Southend Airshow.
It will be held over a whole weekend, as opposed to one day, to enable more people to attend.
The event will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War, and will see a Spitfire on the ground for people to explore.
The airshow is hotly anticipated after this year’s event was pulled by the council.
Mr Rodgers added: “The early plans for the airshow look very exciting and I know how hard the organisers are working to make this happen.
“I hope my group will be able to beef up the non-flying side of the airshow to make sure there is something going on throughout the day on the ground.”
For the association’s latest news, visit www.essexmilitarysupport.com
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