Mayor raises flag to mark Armed Forces Week

Date published: 27 June 2024

Members of the Royal British Legion (RBL) have joined the Mayor of Oldham in commemorating the start of Armed Forces Week.

With a week of national celebrations lined up dedicated to the men and women of our armed forces community, Councillor Zahid Chauhan OBE kicked things off locally on Tuesday by raising the borough’s Armed Forces flag at Oldham's Civic Centre.

The Mayor then welcomed RBL members and serving personnel to his parlour, where he was later presented with a symbolic shield from The Liaison of Ex-Service Men Welfare Fund.

This donated shield, which represents the assistance and support given to ex-servicemen and women and their families in Oldham since the end of the Boer War, will now be displayed in the parlour to be recognised by future generations.

Reflecting on the start of Armed Forces Week, the Mayor of Oldham said: “It is a great honour to raise the Armed Forces Flag and to show our support for the men and women who make up our armed forces, including those currently serving, our veterans and cadets.

“Let’s not forget, our freedom exists today because of the sacrifice they made for our present and I am truly thankful for all they have done for us.

“I am also honoured to accept this shield from The Liaison of Ex-service Men Welfare Fund.

"They have worked tremendously over many years to support our local armed forces personnel, veterans and their families, and long may their great work continue in our borough.”

Major Eddy Hardaker, who is currently serving his 46th year in the military where he is currently based with the 75 Engineer Regiment, added ‘It is an honour’ to have the Mayor’s presence at these events.

He added: “We’ve had close links with every mayor going back many years, and if you look through our history of the borough, they’ve always supported the armed forces and for me as a serving person, that is very important.

“In the last 12 months the Mayor has supported us at several events.

“I’m President of the RBL in Royton branch and he’s been to serval of our events supporting us, not just with Remembrance and Armed Forces, he’s been to veterans meals too, and at the end of the day without that support, it would be very, very difficult, so all credit to him and the Deputy Mayor as well for the time they have given us."

Major Hardaker added: “It’s an honour to have the Mayor attend any event.

"He’s the first citizen of our town, and the fact that he can find time in his busy diary to show his support to the armed forces family means a lot to us and we’re honoured to have him.”

As part of other events taking place this week, Major Hardaker's RBL branch in Royton will be hosting a free family day on Saturday (June 29) at the Halfway House on Rochdale Road (12noon-5pm), to celebrate all our armed forces and their families, both past and present.

For more information on this event, please click here

Rhys Little, Chair of the Armed Forces Network, at Tesco

Meanwhile, members of the Armed Forces will be able to get a free hot breakfast at Tesco cafés in Oldham to mark the Armed Forces Day celebration.

As a thank-you for their service, on Sunday (June 30), all serving Armed Forces personnel, regulars and reservists can present their MOD90 identification card at the Oldham Tesco café on Huddersfield Road or Featherstall Road North and get The Breakfast, The Veggie Breakfast, The Vegan Breakfast, Sausage Bap, Veggie Bap or the Bacon Bap for free.

It’s the third year of offering the free breakfast, and this year it has been extended to veterans with a valid Veteran’s ID card.

The promotion is limited to one free breakfast per cardholder.

Ashwin Prasad, Group Chief Product Officer at Tesco and Exec Sponsor of the Armed Forces Network, said: “As the largest private employer of Armed Forces veterans in the UK we feel a close affinity with Armed Forces personnel. Everyone loves a free breakfast and it’s a nice way of thanking them for their service.”

Rhys Little, Chair of the Armed Forces Network at Tesco, said: “We take great pride in our connection with the Armed Forces.

"We’ve received the Gold Award from the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme twice now – in 2016 and 2020 – and we were also the first retailer to sign the Armed Forces Covenant in 2014.”

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