A sell-out Armed Forces Day basked in the sunshine at Aylesbury Rugby Club on Saturday to the sound of local band music, the roar of veteran aircraft, and the swoosh of the celebrated Red Arrows.
Armed Forces personnel, veterans, cadets and their families joined Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes residents to swell numbers to more than 9,500.
There were quiet moments as the Armed Forces Day flag was raised, when veterans and serving personnel remembered those who had given their lives for their country.
After a day of celebration the British recording artist, singer-songwriter and rapper took to the stage to bring the event to a close.
She was supported by six local bands and singers, who entertained the crowds from the start of the eight-hour celebration and funday.
As well as live music, Armed Forces Day, organised by Buckinghamshire Lieutenancy, Buckinghamshire County Council and Milton Keynes Council, delivered an afternoon and evening of arena events, a funfair, outdoor displays, and a one-hour air display that ended with a fly-past by the celebrated Red Arrows.
Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, paid tribute to the volunteers, sponsors, organising committee and the County Council who worked together to stage the event.
“A huge thank-you to them. Without their hard work it wouldn’t have been possible to put on such a successful day, which was truly a great opportunity to express gratitude and appreciation to our Armed Forces and their families.”
Buckinghamshire Armed Forces Day Veteran of the Year was also named as Bob Higgins, of Amersham.
Mr Higgins won the judges’ unanimous vote for his tireless community and welfare work, visiting veterans in hospital or ill at home.
He received the accolade from Sir Henry as the flag was lowered over the Armed Forces Day showground.
The Veteran of the Year award was organised by Buckinghamshire Royal British Legion as part of the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Armed Forces Day celebrations to pay tribute to the behind-the-scenes community work done by veterans throughout the county.
Runners-up are Myles McHugh, from Amersham, and Raymond ‘Tich’ Rayner, from Aylesbury.
Sir Henry said: ‘I’m delighted to honour our veterans with this award. Their service to the community exemplifies the close links between military and civilian life in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.’
Carl Etholen, chairman of Buckinghamshire County Council, said: ‘We’re fortunate to have a wealth of volunteers across the county who enrich the life of our communities. Among our Services veterans are some unsung heroes, and I’m delighted we’ve been able to recognise them today.’