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Armed Forces Day 2021

Armed Forces Day takes place annually on the last Saturday in June. It’s the day the whole country comes together to show our support for the men and women who make up our Armed Forces communities; from currently serving troops to Service families, veterans and cadets.

Normally events such as parades, displays and concerts are arranged locally and nationally to mark this day. Last year, Covid-19 restrictions meant that activities had to take place "digitally" with content, tributes and information posted online and on social media.

Although restrictions are starting to ease, we must still follow the current Welsh Government guidelines that apply to events and public gatherings. So, once again in Neath Port Talbot, Armed Forces Day this year is being marked ‘virtually’ via these webpages and our social media channels.

We would like to thank everyone that has contributed to these webpages and all those who are making a special effort to mark Armed Forces Day 2021 safely in their own way.

In 2013, Neath Port Talbot Council and a number of partners signed an Armed Forces Covenant with the aim of supporting the armed forces community locally.

All local authorities in Wales signed up to the Covenant and each authority has their own Armed Forces Champion. The role, undertaken by an elected member, represents and ‘champions’ the interests of local armed forces communities and acts as a single point of contact.

Neath Port Talbot’s Armed Forces Champion is Councillor Chris James. Councillor James joined the Royal Navy in 1990. While working in Naval Operations he served in both the Sierra Leone and Afghanistan conflicts before leaving in 2005 after being injured in service.

Councillor Chris James has recorded this message for Armed Forces Day 2021

Find out more about the Armed Forces Covenant in NPT

Under normal circumstances The Mayor would attend and preside over a number of public events for Armed Forces Day. This year The Mayor of Neath Port Talbot, Councillor Warman has recorded this special video message to pay tribute to our Armed Forces past and present.

Although we may not be together to mark Armed Forces Day this year, the official website will give you more opportunities to be part of the day and learn more about why it’s so important. 

Also across the official social media channels below, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from personnel deployed all over the world, get exclusive behind the scenes access and more!
 
Join in on Facebook and Twitter throughout the day for a programme of online events including Q&As with military personnel and performances from military bands.

Share your photos by using #ArmedForcesDay on your posts. 

#SaluteOurForces is a simple way for anyone to pay tribute to the British Armed Forces community for their hard work, dedication and efforts to and keep us safe in the UK and across the globe. To join in, simply send a photo or video of yourself or your friends and colleagues saluting! Find out how to submit your images.

Also, if you know someone in the Armed Forces community whether they’re currently serving or a veteran, you could send them a message or give them a call to show your support for the work they do

Take your seats for the Facebook Live concert at 6pm Saturday June 26.

Talented Neath singer and performer Kirsten Orsborn is a familiar face at the Princess Royal Theatre at the Civic Centre in Port Talbot and in ‘normal times’ takes centre stage in The Mayor’s Annual Remembrance and Charity Concerts. We are thrilled that Kirsten was able to record a mini concert for Armed Forces Day.

Kirsten Orsborn has been singing and performing since she was just 6 years old! Over the years she has performed up and down the country in theatres, concert halls, holiday parks, hotels as well as making special appearances at hospitals, churches and military barracks. 

In 2014 Kirsten was officially adopted by The Royal Marines as their new Forces Sweetheart. Then, on Remembrance Day 2018 Kirsten was ‘adopted’ as the new ‘Sweetheart’ of The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal at an official ceremony in Swansea. She is also now a very proud patron of two charities based in Scotland; ‘Minds at War’ and ‘The Homeless Veterans Project’.

In 2019 Kirsten was invited to the Falkland Islands to sing for troops and retired veterans in support of the Liberty Lodge charity which helps veterans visit the Falklands to pay tribute to fallen comrades. As well has her ongoing commitments to our Armed Forces, Kirsten also now travels the globe as an international headline singer on the world’s most prestigious cruise ships.

Find out more about Kirsten Orsborn

Swansea Bay University Health Board has thanked the military for its invaluable support in establishing the area’s vaccination programme.

The Vaccination Support Force (VSF), mostly drawn from the RAF but with Combat Medicine Technicians from the Army, were deployed in January to lend a range of skills and expertise in meeting the extraordinary challenges faced by the NHS in working at pace and scale in delivering vaccination.

Members of the military’s Vaccination Support Force at Bay Field Hospital. Louise Platt, SBUHB Head of Operations for the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, Flying Officer Dominic Compton-Davies and Dorothy Edwards, SBUHB Covid Vaccination Programme Director

Above: Members of the military’s Vaccination Support Force at Bay Field Hospital. Louise Platt, SBUHB Head of Operations for the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, Flying Officer Dominic Compton-Davies and Dorothy Edwards, SBUHB Covid Vaccination Programme Director

 

Each and every person made a significant contribution to the success of the vaccination programme with patients saying how friendly and helpful military personnel have been and how proud they are to see them serve locally.

The military had previously provided invaluable assistance during the pandemic having played its part in establishing Swansea Bay’s Covid testing programme last year and working alongside the Health Board in setting up field hospitals as well as many other aspects of our COVID response.

Above (left to right): SBUHB CEO Mark Hackett, Flying Officer Dominic Compton-Davies and SBUHB Chair Emma Woollett

Above (left to right): SBUHB CEO Mark Hackett, Flying Officer Dominic Compton-Davies and SBUHB Chair Emma Woollett

 

SBUHB Chair, Emma Woollett, and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Hackett, led the thanks at a presentation to the VSF at the Bay Field Hospital on Wednesday, 21 April.

Emma Woollett said: “Visiting our MVCs has been one of the most pleasurable activities I’ve done as chair as the atmosphere is great and the feedback so positive.

“The organisation and effective delivery, brought by the military, has been outstanding – often in the face of changing supply and guidance that has required rapid and frequent amendments at short notice.

“Their innovation and new ideas have led to continual improvement in vaccine delivery, both within MVCs and outside in projects such as the immbulance.

“Those arriving at the vaccination centres have been supported and reassured, not just about the jab, but around the booking, the travel arrangements, the flow through the MVC and the pride in being supported locally by our armed forces.

“Each and every person has made a significant contribution to this success.  And we are hugely grateful for their support.  They have completely integrated into the service by being flexible, adaptable and innovative, and we have really enjoyed working with them.”

Adding his thanks to the military Mark Hackett said: “I commend their professionalism, skills and energy in putting the vaccination programme together.

“They leave in a much better place than we would have been without their help. In future years I hope they look back on their time with us and recognise the contribution they made towards keeping our society safe and reducing the harm that this dreadful pandemic has caused people.”

Military personnel undertook many roles, including general duties such as car park and traffic flow, meet and greet, flow within the sites, administration and receptionist’s duties, and call handler duties, as well as clinical leadership roles at Margam and immunising, which has been invaluable.

Dorothy Edwards, Programme Director for the Vaccination Programme at Swansea Bay University Health Board, said: “We faced a huge task and the military helped us to set up our systems to work very efficiently. They have been immensely committed and dedicated, and our vaccination teams have really enjoyed working alongside them.

“I would like to thank each and every one of them for their time over the past four months and to the contribution they have made.

“We are up and running, and our systems are really flowing nicely now, and we recognise that they have a job to do and wish them well they return to their roles.”

Flying Officer Compton-Davies, who was instrumental in designing the extension of Bay MVC, said: “The guys wanted to come and hit the ground running, and they did really well fulfilling tasks from car park duties, at the start, then on to reception, flow and admin input, to administrating the vaccine and supervising the vaccinators.”

On the decision to redeploy he said: “I firmly believe, as agreed by the Health Board, that Swansea Bay is now self-sufficient and the NHS can carry on this operation by themselves.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed out time here, everyone has looked after us tremendously, and we have been really lucky to have been with Swansea Bay University Health Board. They have looked after us from the start to the very end and it has been a very productive and positive work environment. It has been fantastic.”

 

A look (and listen) back to how musicians from the RAF Salon Orchestra helped entertain NHS staff and calm the nerves of those who received their first jabs at Margam Orangery in January.

Video courtesy of Swansea Bay University Health Board

The RAF deployed 68 personnel throughout Wales to support the Welsh Government and NHS Wales vaccination programme. RAF musicians worked in teams alongside Defence medics and NHS staff during the first months of the programme.

Find out more about RAF Music Services

facebook.com/RoyalAirForceMusic

www.instagram.com/royalairforcemusic/