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Aldershot Military Festival's WWI centenary line-up

Host of activities lined up for visitors from guided talks and sports demonstrations to bands and tanks

TMS

The Aldershot Military Festival returns this month with a host of activities for families and army fans alike.

Back for a second year, the festival - a revamped version of the popular Army Show - comes to town from Monday June 23 to Sunday June 29.

The idea for a festival grew from the former Army Show tradition and seeks to explore the special relationship that exists between the Garrison and the people of the town that grew up around it.

The Army Show, which has its roots back in the late 19th century, drew large crowds during the 1980s when it was staged at Rushmoor Arena, and was then revised to a more modern format in 2002.

In its heyday, some 60,000 visitors flocked to the show over two days.

The event coincides with Armed Forces Day (Saturday June 28) and this year's show has also been themed to commemorate the First World War centenary.

Monday to Friday

A variety of mostly free events across numerous venues have been planned and include free tours of Aldershot Military Cemetery, which run from Monday to Friday, 10am until midday.

A guided walk taking in the town's military heritage will take place on Wednesday June 25 from 9.30am until 12.30pm and is free to attend. To book a place call 01252 340094.

The Prince Consort’s Library will host talks from authors of military literature from Monday June 23 until Thursday June 26, with a different author each day covering subjects ranging from the Sierra Leone civil war to the Great War.

Entry is free, but booking is required by calling 01252 340094.

A film festival will also take place at Cineworld running from Monday to Friday, showing Zulu, Our War, The Invisible Enemy, Lone Survivor and War Horse, respectively.

Films begin at 6.30pm and entry is free. Bookings can be made on 01252 348214.

TMS Aldershot Military Cemetery tour led by Paul Vickers in aid of Aldershot Military Festival
Tours of Aldershot Military Cemetery will be held
 

A festival of music will be held for the first time at the Princes Hall on June 25, with proceeds going to ABF The Soldiers' Charity.

The show starts at 7.45pm and tickets cost £10, available from the Princes Hall.

A play will also be staged exploring the famous Christmas truce on the front line entitled Our Friends, The Enemy, and will take place at the West End Centre on Friday June 27.

Tickets cost £5 available from the West End Centre.

There will be a schools art and army photo exhibition at the Princes Hall and a Command Tasks Workshop at Princess Avenue.

Saturday and Sunday

Highlight of the week will be the open day on Saturday June 28, which will feature a raft of different military displays including tanks and helicopters, band performances, sports demonstrations as well as lots of trade stalls and refreshments.

A full programme of events has been scheduled across several themed zones, including army, air and sports, as well as displays and performances in the main arena.

On Sunday there will be a 10km fun run in aid of SSAFA, including a one-mile option for those less energetic.

Costs are £15 for the 10k, entrants must be over 16. For the one-mile run, entry is £10 for over-16s and £5 for those aged seven to 16.

A 1km run for children aged one to seven is also available, entry costs £5.

All runs require completion of a registration form.

A zumbathon also takes place on Sunday at the Aldershot Garrison Sports Centre. The event will run from 11am until 1pm, tickets cost £10 and visitors will need to wear appropriate footwear due to the wooden flooring.

Aldershot’s Garrison Commander, Colonel Charlie Lambert, said: “The theme is based on the First World War and will highlight the contrast between 1914 and 2014, focusing on the positives learned over the intervening 100 years. This is particularly poignant as we return from Afghanistan after 14 years of operations.”

 

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