National Armed Forces Day, Stirling 28th June

About - the event

Armed Forces Day National Event – 2014

Stirling was proud to host the sixth annual Armed Forces Day National Event. This was one of the brightest and most colourful celebrations the city had ever seen. This fantastic, free family day out kicked off with a parade of serving military personnel and cadets who were joined by over 1000 veterans.

On Saturday 28th June, the parade left Stirling Castle Esplanade around 11:30am and made its way through the city's historic old town, arriving at the outdoor events arena for the Armed Forces Day National Event.

Highlights included:

  • Parade and Drumhead service
  • Flypast of current and vintage aircraft
  • Tri-Service simulated combat and rescue mission
  • Tanks and other military vehicles
  • Live music and entertainment
  • Unarmed combat display
  • Military working dogs demonstration






Visitors came from all across Scotland and the rest of Britain to enjoy a great day out and said a big “thank-you” to the UK’s Armed Forces, past and present.

2014 is especially important as it’s the 70th anniversary of D-Day, when troops from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland were among those who fought their way across the beaches of Normandy to begin the liberation of Europe.

Armed Forces Day is a National Event and a chance to honour those who work to keep the UK safe today.

After the main events, Stirling celbrated with it's Big Night Out throughout the city, in the streets and venues, bars and resturaunts.

As well as the Armed Forces Day National Event, there was Pipefest and Bannockburn Live, making a total of three great celebrations of history and culture over one weekend.



The Armed Forces Day National Event was filmed and photographed for live and recorded transmission. Attendees gave their express consent to the use of their actual or simulated likeness in connection with the production, exhibition, advertising or exploitation of any film, video and / or audio recording of this event and / or any element thereof in any / all media throughout the world.

  • Stirling will mount a spectacular celebration more
    Provost
    Mike Robbins Provost, Stirling Council
  • We rely on Public support it is crucial to us more
    Jonathan Laidlaw
    Lieutenant Jonathan LaidlawSearch and Rescue Pilot
  • I joined the Royal Navy in March 2000 as a writer more
    Stuart Campbell
    Petty Officer Stuart CampbellRoyal Navy Police Officer
  • We still have World War II veterans more
    Bob Chandler
    Bob ChandlerRAF
  • As the old saying goes – lest we forget! more
    Jim Carey
    Jim CareyAirborne Forces Association
  • A Glaswegian whose father was in the Royal Navy! more
    Tam Douglas
    Tam DouglasRoyal Scots Association
  • The Army runs in the blood for Bob’s family more
    Bob Swan
    Bob SwanGrey Berets 1956-65
  • His father was in the regular Army for 35 years more
    David Beveridge
    David BeveridgeRoyal Artillery
  • A great opportunity to bring together three services! more
    Joe Stanfield
    Joe StanfieldRoyal Airforce
  • Ultimately, it was all about keeping the peace. more
    Bob Bertram
    Bob BertramRoyal Airforce
  • He looks back on his Army days with fondness more
    Tam Douglas
    Tam DouglasRoyal Scots Association
  • We all have parents in the military more
    Lucy McNair
    Lucy McNairDrum Major
  • It is their work which helps keep our country safe. more
    Connor Kelly
    Connor Kellywill carry School Colours
  • It’s dedicated to all those soldiers who make sacrifices. more
    Danny Theyers
    Danny Theyerswill carry School Colours
  • It brings together families from all across the UK. more
    Megan McColl
    Megan McCollSenior Piper
  • I am proud this event is taking place in Stirling this year. more
    Wendy Bellars
    Wendy BellarsHead
  • A chance for everyone to show their support. more
    Morven Craib
    Morven CraibPrincipal Dancer
  • It’s essential that people support events like this. more
    Bob Munro
    Bob MunroSergeant Major

Welcome Stirling’s Armed Forces Day National Event

What’s impressive about so many people with military backgrounds is the modesty with which they speak about extraordinary achievements.

There are some who are now returning from the harshness and heat of Afghanistan, there are those who served during the Cold War and the National Servicemen who fought in Korea. There are also those who fought to stop an Argentinian dictator from annexing the Falklands. Recently I have also been privileged to meet some of the Scots who took part in the D-Day landings.

All of them served alongside comrades from England, Wales and Northern Ireland – united in their determination to defend our own country, or to help secure peace and freedom in other lands.

The links between Stirling and Britain’s Armed Forces stretch back for centuries. And on many occasions our city has been at the heart of events that have helped shape the history of Scotland and the UK.

So we feel particularly honoured to have been selected to host this year’s Armed Forces Day National Event. It’s a chance to show our pride in all those who work on land, air and sea to defend our country. And it is also an opportunity to welcome visitors from every part of Britain, and overseas.

We are planning an unforgettable day out for you and your family – with lots of colour, fun and spectacle. Among those taking part will be servicemen and women of today, and veterans of many ages, from their 20s to their 90s.

And once you have seen what Stirling has to offer, both the city and its fabulous surrounding countryside, we hope you will soon be back to visit us again.

Mike Robbins, Stirling Provost

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Search and Rescue

The Role in the Armed Forces

“Given the role of the Armed Forces, it’s crucial that the public support us. With Search and Rescue I am constantly involved with the public, and meeting them is one of the rewarding parts of the job – whether it’s giving a presentation to school children or showing the general public around the helicopter on Armed Forces Day,” says Lieutenant Jonathan Laidlaw, Royal Navy Search and Rescue Pilot.   

Jonathan is currently serving as a search and rescue pilot at HMS Gannet in Prestwick. Its area of coverage extends from the Lake District and Scottish Borders in the south, to Edinburgh and Dundee in the east, Ben Nevis and the Ardnamurchan Peninsula in the north and west to the Inner Hebrides, Northern Ireland and 200 nautical miles out into the Atlantic Ocean.  

He says: “It is a large area and conditions, whether meteorological, maritime or terrain, can be very difficult. A typical year will see us engaged in well in excess of 300 call outs, rescuing numerous people from land and sea.”   

Jonathan joined the RN in 2003 and trained as an officer and then a helicopter pilot. He had operational flying tours in Afghanistan and Libya, and has completed over 200 rescue missions as a SAR pilot.   

Born and raised in Renfrewshire, he now lives in South Ayrshire close to HMS Gannet.

Lieutenant Jonathan Laidlaw, Search and Rescue Pilot

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Past and present Armed Forces

Royal Navy Police Officer

“The Armed Forces of the UK, both past and present, have been integral in preserving our way of life and ensuring that our values on the world stage are maintained.  It is important for all members of the public to recognise the contribution made by their Armed Forces and this special day provides them with the opportunity to show their appreciation,” said Petty Officer Stuart Campbell, Royal Navy Police Officer.  

Stuart is in charge of overall security on board HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of the Royal Navy’s new super-carriers currently under construction at Rosyth. He provides a link between the Royal Navy and the ship’s builders. Stuart is responsible to the command for the maintenance of discipline and the investigation of offences contrary to the Armed Forces Act.  

He says: “I joined the Royal Navy in March 2000 as a Writer [administrator] after leaving the then Scottish Executive. Prior to joining the Scottish Executive I attended Edinburgh University and graduated with an MA (Hons) in Politics and Modern History in 1997. In 2004 I joined the Royal Navy Police and have since then served at sea on several platforms and ashore in Rosyth and Faslane.”   

Born in Edinburgh, he grew up in Bonnyrigg and remained in the area since joining the Royal Navy.  Stuart now lives in Thornton in Fife but maintains strong family and social links with the city.

Petty Officer Stuart Campbell, Royal Navy Police Officer.

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Joining at the age of 15

Bob and his wife

“Armed Forces Day is a two-way thing – it raises awareness of our current servicemen and women, and the proud history of what our nation has stood up for. We still have World War II veterans and it’s important not to forget all they did. It’s also a chance for us to thank the public for the support that they show for us,” says Bob Chandler, Scotland and Northern Ireland Chairman of the Royal Air Forces Association.  

After joining as a boy of 15 and learning a trade as a mechanic, Bob fell in love with life in the RAF and the opportunities it gave him to travel. That wasn’t the only love affair – as it was through the RAF that he met Margaret, the Senior Aircraftswoman who became his bride.  

Bob’s 41 years as an engineer, during which he rose to the rank of Warrant Officer, show the sheer range of ways in which military personnel can find themselves serving their country. An expert in logistics and a trained referee, Bob was seconded to co-ordinate the transport for the Euro ’96 football tournament. This stood him in good stead and before his retirement in 2000 he took on the even bigger task of arranging the transport for the Queen Mother’s 100th Birthday Parade. “It was a very exciting experience,” he says “I didn’t know anything about horses before it started, but I had found out an awful lot about them by the end.”  

Nowadays living in Ayr, Bob devotes a lot of his time to RAFA, which supports veterans and serving members of royal air forces round the world. He sees Armed Forces Day as a chance to show what this, and similar organisations, achieve.  

“It highlights the work that charities do and is a chance for us to show people the valuable ways in which their donations are used, he says. “And we are really looking forward to coming to Stirling. We have many older members, some in their 70s and 80s, and it’s very exciting for them to take part in an event like this and to have so many people thank them.”

Bob Chandler, RAF

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Lest we forget!

One o'clock gun

“It’s the old saying – lest we forget! Armed Forces Day highlights the work of the forces. Peacetime or war, the jobs they do can be tough, the training is hard and there is often danger,” says Jim Carey, Chairman of the Airborne Forces Association. The risks of military service are something Jim is keen for people to recognise, as someone who is active in preserving the memory of six comrades who died in the 1974 Keil Canal Parachuting accident in West Germany. A TA member of the Paras from 1965-93, who rose to the rank of captain, Jim also believes that the military plays a valuable role in building links with other nations.  

The accident took place during a major exercise to practice reinforcing Allied positions in the event of a Soviet invasion. The villagers of nearby Sehestedt created a memorial – feeling the men died for their defence. Jim is part of a group which visits the area each year, even setting up a Malt Whisky Society there. The locals also hold their own regular Highland Games.  

Now a telephone engineer living in Coatbridge, Jim says: “It’s good that events like National Armed Forces Day are held where the public can show their appreciation of the Armed Forces. They really should be credited for all they do.”

Jim Carey, Chairman of the Airborne Forces Association

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“It teaches you self-discipline and provides a good grounding for life.

Royal Scots Association

“In countries like the USA they have always had national events to recognise the good work of their servicemen and women, and thanks to Armed Forces Day we are now doing this in the UK – that’s something which is very important,” says Tam Douglas, Secretary of the Royal Scots Association.  

According to Tam the event in Stirling is a way to maintain links between comrades – around 100 members are expected to take part in the parade. They will come from all round the UK, including the large London branch. The age range will be from 30 to 80 and could include people who saw service in Borneo, Aden, Cypress, Kenya, Northern Ireland, the Falklands, the first Gulf War and Afghanistan.  

A Glaswegian whose father was in the Royal Navy, Tam took a slightly different course by joining the Army at the age of 18 and serving in the Royal Scots from 1974-79. He arrived in Cyprus just ahead of the Turkish invasion before tours in Northern Ireland and Germany – where the duties included escorting nuclear convoys.  

After leaving the regiment his skills continued to come in useful when he joined a removals company which had contracts moving Army families both within the UK and abroad. He now uses his organisational abilities to help plan moves for big organisations including schools and hospitals.  

Now living in Edinburgh he looks back on his Army days with fondness: “I regretted leaving. It teaches you self-discipline and provides a good grounding for anything else you want to do in life. If a young person today told me they were thinking about joining I’d encourage them to look at the idea very seriously.”

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Serving from 1956-65

“We are really pleased to be coming to Stirling for Armed Forces Day. It’s a great way to keep a spotlight on the forces, so people appreciate all that they do,” says Bob Swan, Secretary and Treasurer of the Edinburgh and East of Scotland Branch of the Royal Scots Association.  

The Army runs in the blood for Bob’s family. His grandfather saw service and his father, Arthur, was captured in the battle of Tobruk in North Africa during World War II. So Bob, from Edinburgh, gave up a “dead end” job at the age of 17 and became a Trooper in the Scots Greys.  

Serving from 1956-65 he was stationed in places as far flung as West Germany, Aden and Kenya. It was a hugely varied experience, doing everything from being part of a tank crew, guarding airfields and acting as a driver through to learning the finer points of amphibious warfare.  

Being in the forces at the height of the Cold War and during the winding down of the British Empire was largely about helping maintain the peace – something Bob looks back on with pride. After leaving the Army he became a long distance lorry driver.  

Bob is highly active in the 290-strong branch of his regimental association and is very much looking forward to joining comrades for the Armed Forces Day National Event. Around 150 “grey berets” are expected to march in the parade, with many others joining the crowd.

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In his spare time David is a member of the Royal Burgh of Stirling Pipe Band!

One o'clock gun

“I was a regular soldier for 26 years and have noticed a difference in the public's awareness of the Armed Forces. Armed Forces Day is a great opportunity to keep links between the local communities and the Armed Forces. People are interested in what we do and a lot of them have family members in the services,” Sergeant David Beveridge, of 105 Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers), District Gunner Edinburgh Castle.  

As the person responsible for firing the One O'Clock Gun at Edinburgh Castle, David has a very special place in British society. The custom of firing the gun began in 1861 and has continued since then, except during the two World Wars. It is timed to coincide with the Time Ball, a large white ball that is raised at the Nelson Monument on Calton Hill and also dropped at 1pm. Together they provide a time signal for shipping in the Firth of Forth and the Port of Leith.  

Born in Germany, his father was in the regular Army for 35 years in the Royal Artillery. His father was originally from Fife and his mother is Spanish.  

Married with two grown up children, he lives in Tullibody and was in the regular Royal Artillery for 26 years until 2006. He had a couple of civilian jobs then worked as a Permanent Staff Instructor at 105 Regt RA before becoming District Gunner in February.  

In his spare time David is a member of the Royal Burgh of Stirling Pipe Band.  

The current gun is a 105mm light gun, fired manually by the District Gunner from the 105th Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers) - based in Edinburgh, from the Mills Mount Battery in the North face of Edinburgh Castle.

Sergeant David Beveridge

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Originally a shirt factory worker in Airdrie!

“This event is a great opportunity to bring the three services together – veterans and those who are serving now. It’s like a huge reunion. It’s also a chance to showcase the military and let the public see that we are part of wider society,” says Joe Stanfield, Area Director, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Royal Air Forces Association.

Towards the end of his 27 years in the forces Joe became increasingly involved in welfare support. These could vary from helping personnel deal with marital problems to organising support for those suffering mental trauma due to their experiences in combat. This prepared him well for his current role in RAFA, which has 50 highly trained welfare officers deployed across Scotland alone, who help veterans and service families facing many different challenges.

Originally a shirt factory worker in Airdrie, Joe saw the Royal Air Force as an opportunity for travel. After joining up he spent a great deal of time abroad working in personnel administration. His career took an unusual turn, helping old adversaries become allies, as the Soviet empire crumbled and former Eastern Bloc countries turned westward. For several years he worked in Embassies in Latvia and Estonia helping bring their forces up to NATO standards. “It was pretty varied,” he says “One day you could be organising English language classes and the next arranging for specialists to come out and give them sniper training.”

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Armed Forces Day is a great day to show your support!

“The public values our armed forces, but the armed forces don’t always know how much that’s true. Armed Forces Day is a great chance for the public to get out and show their support for serving personnel, for veterans and for the families of all those who have served,” Bob Bertram, Chairman of the Edinburgh, Lothian and Borders Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association.

Bob worked in electronic warfare at the height of the Cold War. He originally joined the RAF in 1961 as a Boy Entrant and speaks with fondness about how he grew up in the forces. Training as a telegraphist he soon began to develop the expertise needed to help NATO monitor what the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies were up to. These were tense times when the Allies feared a huge invasion by Russian forces and there was the terrifying prospect of nuclear Armageddon. There were also proxy conflicts, and during some of his overseas postings Bob was keeping watch on Arab insurgencies, sometimes backed by the Soviets.

It was all a huge game of cat and mouse, with both sides trying to get an advantage: “It was the early days for some of this kind of work, but it was often very interesting. We would be monitoring their radio transmissions, including Morse code. It was also a situation of we knew what they were doing, and they knew we knew. But ultimately it was all about keeping the peace.”

After leaving the RAF in 1973, Bob joined the fire service and also gained the rank of Flight Lieutenant in the reserves, commanding two cadet units. Later he became the Scottish Parliament’s first ever Fire Safety Manager and is now retired and lives in his native Pathhead.

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We are now celebrating Armed Forces Day in the UK!

Tam Douglas

“In countries like the USA they have always had national events to recognise the good work of their servicemen and women, and thanks to Armed Forces Day we are now doing this in the UK – that’s something which is very important,” says Tam Douglas, Secretary of the Royal Scots Association.

According to Tam the event in Stirling is a way to maintain links between comrades – around 100 members are expected to take part in the parade. They will come from all round the UK, including the large London branch. The age range will be from 30 to 80 and could include people who saw service in Borneo, Aden, Cypress, Kenya, Northern Ireland, the Falklands, the first Gulf War and Afghanistan.

A Glaswegian whose father was in the Royal Navy, Tam took a slightly different course by joining the Army at the age of 18 and serving in the Royal Scots from 1974-79. He arrived in Cyprus just ahead of the Turkish invasion before tours in Northern Ireland and Germany – where the duties included escorting nuclear convoys.

After leaving the regiment his skills continued to come in useful when he joined a removals company which had contracts moving Army families both within the UK and abroad. He now uses his organisational abilities to help plan moves for big organisations including schools and hospitals.

Now living in Edinburgh he looks back on his Army days with fondness: “I regretted leaving. It teaches you self-discipline and provides a good grounding for anything else you want to do in life. If a young person today told me they were thinking about joining I’d encourage them to look at the idea very seriously.”

Lucy McNair, A Drum Major at the Queens Victoria School in Dunblane, Stirling.

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We are now celebrating Armed Forces Day in the UK

Lucy McNair

“We all have parents in the military, so we understand their situation. The armed forces are a massive part of British life and do so much to represent and protect British society. The Armed Forces Day National Event is a chance for the public to show support for them and all their families.”

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We are now celebrating Armed Forces Day in the UK

Connor Kelly

Connor Kelly, (17), who will bear the Queen’s Colours, said: “I don’t think there’s enough recognition of everything that the armed forces achieve. It is their work which helps keep our country safe.”

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We are now celebrating Armed Forces Day in the UK

Danny Theyers

Danny Theyers, (17), who will carry the School Colours in the parade, added: “Armed Forces Day is important because it’s dedicated to all those soldiers who make sacrifices, or may one day be called on to sacrifice themselves, for our country.”

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We are now celebrating Armed Forces Day National Event in the UK

Megan McColl

Megan McColl, (16), a Senior Piper, said: “Armed Forces Day National Event really matters because it brings together families from all across the UK so they can enjoy a day out and celebrate the armed forces which they all share in common.”QVS is a boarding school, established in 1908, which is funded by the MoD for the children of Royal Navy, Army, or Royal Air Force personnel, who are Scottish, have served in Scotland or in Scottish units. At any time one, or both, of their parents could be on the front line in war zones, carrying out peacekeeping duties, or be based in dangerous and inhospitable places all around the world.

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We are now celebrating Armed Forces Day in the UK

Wendy Bellars

QVS pipers, drummers and dancers make regular appearances at events across the country, including the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. According to the Head, Wendy Bellars, they are very much looking forward to AFDNE.

She said: “It is very important to us as these are all children from military families. To be a part of the music and dancing is a real privilege and a chance to fly the flag for the UK’s armed forces.

“The enormous sacrifices which our armed forces make are not always appreciated, but this event is a chance for that to happen. As a Scot I am very proud that this event is taking place in Stirling this year.”

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We are now celebrating Armed Forces Day in the UK

Morven Craib

Morven Craib, (17), Principal Dancer, said: “We are all very proud of what our parents do and the Armed Forces Day National Event is a chance for everyone to show their support for our military. It’s very important to recognise what the military do for us. They really should be celebrated.”

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Bob swapped life as a woodcutter to join the Army at the age of 17

Bob Munro

“It’s a first class way to highlight all that the armed forces do, the risks they take and the injuries some of them suffer. It’s essential that people support events like this,” says Bob Munro, former Sergeant Major in the Queen’s Own Highlanders.

Raised in the Highlands, Bob swapped life as a woodcutter to join the Army at the age of 17, and soon found himself on anti-piracy patrol in Borneo. When his unit returned for some rest in Singapore they were told not to bother unpacking – something serious was about to happen.

What followed was a hair raising flight in a transport plane – heading for an unknown destination. News had filtered through that communist rebels had taken several airports, overrun the economically vital oil fields and taken Western workers hostage.

When the aircraft landed it was at an enemy occupied airport which Bob’s unit managed to retake, despite coming under fire from insurgents high up in the control tower. They then managed to create a bridgehead which allowed reinforcements to arrive.

The operation was swift, professional and highly effective. A surprise attack by the British successfully freed all the hostages being held in a captured police station. Bob remembers that one soldier was a near casualty. An insurgent tried to shoot him with a sub-machinegun which luckily jammed. The British soldier was a young officer called J J Mackenzie. Bob remarks that the incident clearly did him little harm as he ultimately went on to become Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

Bob served 22 years in the forces, including a spell in West Berlin, at the time when it was a tiny island of democracy surrounded by Soviet Bloc forces. After leaving he settled with his wife in Edinburgh.

Nowadays Bob and his former comrades from the Queen’s Own Highlanders take great pride in reuniting for events such as Armed Forces Day and taking the opportunity to remind people of the achievements of their regiment.

His 17-year-old granddaughter Hayley is a Cadet Sergeant and hopes to follow in the footsteps of both her grandfathers by joining the Army.

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Where’s Evie competition?

3rd Competition

The third in the “Where’s Corporal Evie” competition has been unveiled.

Corporal Evie says: “The huge parklands below Stirling Castle used to be where Scottish kings and queens watched tournaments. They are also where great military celebrations have been held – and where the Armed Forces Day National Event takes place on June 28th – which will be the biggest ever.”

“Where’s Corporal Evie” features Corporal Evie Haslam from 6 Scots, who has been photographed with the AFD banner at various historic locations around Stirling. All locations have a strong link to the military.

Can you guess where Evie is?

Please Note: The competition is now closed

The winner of the first phase of the Where’s Corporal Evie competition was Tina Caird-Robinson, who correctly guessed that Corporal Evie was at the Atlantic Wall. Well done Tina.

The winner of the second phase of the competition was Siobhan McKnight, who correctly guessed that Corporal Evie was at the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum.

Provost Mike Robins said: “Good luck to everyone who enters the fial phases of the competition, and we look forward to welcoming visitors to Stirling for the Armed Forces Day National Event on Saturday 28th June.”

Terms and conditions

Travel

Getting here

Stirling’s Big Weekend took place from Friday 27th June to Sunday 29th June. This once-in-a-lifetime event had something for everyone with an event calendar that includes the Armed Forces Day National Event, Bannockburn Live, Pipefest, Stirling Castle and Wallace Monument tours, street performances, live music, parades and late-night shopping. The Armed Forces Day National Event was held to the west of the city, with great walking and cycling links. Stirling has excellent public transport links and visitors were urged to use public transport wherever possible.

Parking at the event was strictly limited and visitors were encouraged to purchase car parking tickets in advance of the event from: the parking section.

Travelling by bus

Stirling is well serviced by a network of local and national bus services. Routes, times and fares to Stirling are available from Traveline Scotland. National Express provided extra bus services across Scotland to Stirling and reducing their ticket prices for the period of the Big Weekend.

Serving military personnel - eligible for 60% off travel through the Defence Discount Service. For more information about the scheme, visit: Defence Discount Scheme

Springkerse Park and Ride Service extended to provide access to Stirling Castle and the Armed Forces Day National Event venue. More information is available to download here: Park and Ride

Travelling by train

Stirling has excellent train services from the main cities in Scotland such as Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee and Perth as well as more local stations.

First Scotrail increased the seating capacity on their frequent train services to Stirling from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, Dunblane and Alloa on the morning and evening of Saturday 28th June. More information is available at: First Scotrail.

For those unable to use public transport, limited car parking facilities were provided in Stirling. These parking facilities are all to the west of the city and shuttle-buses was used to transfer visitors where walking distances were too great.

Travelling by air

Stirling is only 30 miles from Edinburgh Airport and only 35 miles from Glasgow Airport. Onward travel advise available on the airport websites: Edinburgh Airport or Glasgow Airport.

Travelling by car

For those who had to travel by car, temporary parking was available to the west of the city near the event. However, these spaces were limited and visitors were urged to booked in advance to avoid disappointment. Visitors who pre-purchase parking tickets received a suggested route information to help organisers manage traffic into Stirling.

Most of the parking facilities are within a 20-min walk of the event, although two of the sites are slightly further away and a free shuttle bus services was provided from these. The cost per car was £10, however, a 50% discount was on offer for early booking to encourage drivers to book early.

Road closures and parking restrictions were in place in the immediate vicinity of the event arena and parking in residential streets was not possible.

Drop off points were located on Millennium Way and Queens Road. Motorists were not permitted to leave their vehicles unattended in the drop-off point at any time. Any unattended vehicles in the drop-off point would be removed at the owner's expense.

Disabled parking

There was some car parking for disabled blue badge holders which needed to be booked in advance on a first come first served basis.

A drop-off facility for disabled badge holders was provided at the event. This area is within the road closures and access to this was managed by the Police. Disabled Badges would have been on display on the vehicle to gain entry to this area.

Park and Ride

Park and Ride options in Stirling city centre were available at:: Stirling Council - Park and Ride

Springkerse Park and Ride operated on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th June (7:30am to 9pm) linking to the City Centre.

Castleview Park and Ride service operated on Sunday 29th June (10:00am to 7pm) linking to the City Centre but was not in operation on Saturday 28th June.

To help avoid unnecessary delays and maximise the Armed Forces Day National Event experience, Stirling Council encouraged visitors to make travel plans and plot thier journey ahead of time.

Travel tips:

  • Driving, please car-share wherever possible.
    For more information, visit: Liftshare

  • Allow extra time for your journey and aim to arrive in Stirling before 10am or after 11am, when traffic will be heavy and delays are likely
  • Car parking facilities available.
  • Follow the route outlined on your parking information letter, if you pre-purchased a parking space
  • Respect other road-users, local residents and spectators
  • Follow official Armed Forces Day National Event signage and listen to instructions from event stewards
  • Ensure your parking ticket is displayed clearly at all times
  • Visit Traffic Scotland for the latest travel information

Car park booking

Visitors to Stirling's Armed Forces Day National Event were urged to pre-purchase parking spaces for this once-in-a-lifetime event. Visitors could also call the Albert Halls on 01786 473 544 between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Friday to secure a space. Parking spaces cost £10 each but, for a strictly limited time, were available below for just £5. Tickets went on sale at 10am on Monday 26th May.

Making your booking:

Please select the parking required, you can only purchase one parking ticket per vehicle/booking.

Checkout: New customers needed to register, follow the onscreen instructions.

Additional Information: Enter the vehicle registration number (no spaces) of the vehicle used on the day of the event. The same registration number cannot be used more than once.

  • Ticket delivery: select Let Me Print My Own
  • Billing Details: check that your billing address is correct
  • Summary: check the details of your booking and confirm
  • Your ticket will be automatically emailed to you.

Book parking

Book parking with a blue badge


Travel advice for Bannockburn Live and Armed Forces Day

ScotRail provided more than 6,000 extra seats – on top of existing services – to help customers travel to and from Stirling over the weekend.

Armed Forces Day was held in the city Saturday (28 June), with Bannockburn Live on Saturday and Sunday (28/29 June).

The train operator ran longer trains for customers travelling between Stirling and Glasgow/Edinburgh/Alloa/Dunblane/Inverness/Perth on both days.

Five additional services ran to Stirling on Sunday morning – two from Glasgow, two from Edinburgh and one from Perth – and extra carriages was available on other services.

As well as extra services and longer trains, ScotRail had more staff on the ground, as trains were busy and a queuing systems was in place at key stations, including Stirling, Glasgow Queen Street, Edinburgh Waverley, Perth and Falkirk High.

Services were busy between 5pm and 7pm on both days, so those travelling by train were encouraged to stay in Stirling for a while after the events have finished.

ScotRail urged customers to help their journeys run smoothly by:

  • Buying train tickets in advance
  • Allowing extra time for travel
  • Avoiding the last train home, as this is likely to be busy

A ScotRail spokeswoman said: “Although extra carriages and services will be in place, we know trains to and from Stirling will still be really busy, particularly on Saturday (28 June) when both events take place.

“Customers are encouraged to buy their train tickets in advance and leave plenty of time for travel.”



Accommodation

Check out Visit Scotland's Website for information on accommodation in Stirling.



A spectacular weekend of entertainment!

Events

Please note all information is subject to change.

Aviation Programme

Lots to see and do and fun for all the family, check out the timetable for the Aviation Programme.

Pipefest

Over 1000 pipers and drummers
Marching from the gates of Stirling Castle - 27 June 6:30pm.see Pipefest

Main Arena Programme

Timetable (subject to change)
So much to see and do, come along for a family day of fun and entertainment

Main Stage Programme

Timetable (subject to change)
Don't miss out on this fantastic opportunity to be a part of the National Armed Forces Day Event in Stirling

Small Arena Programme

Timetable (subject to change)
A great time for all the family. Spectacular demonstraions and breathtaking sights to be seen.

Image Galleries

Information

Information



Here you can find images and logos (Press Pack - please note this is will take you to Stirling Council's Flickr)



Veterans, performers and business leaders praise success of Stirling’s Armed Forces Day National Event

Tuesday 8th July, 2014

Veterans, performers and business leaders have praised Stirling’s Armed Forces Day National Event on Saturday 28th June as a major success for the area.

Veterans’ Scotland, which played a lead role in the occasion, estimate that 1500 former Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force personnel from 34 associations across the UK took part in the parade including three Chelsea Pensioners. The procession was preceded by 91 motorbike riders from Legion Scotland.

The Veterans’ Village on the events field, where 80 organisations had exhibits and stalls and which was the largest for any Armed Forces Day National Event, attracted 8000 visitors. Some 2000 of them made their own commemorative “Poppy for 2014” at the Poppy Factory stand.

Veterans Scotland Executive Chairman Martin Gibson said: “The day was meticulously organised. We were gratified by the huge appreciation people showed towards the men and women who served in the UK's Armed Forces to guarantee the freedoms our nation enjoys today. The stallholders were delighted by the level of interest in their charitable activities for veterans and serving personnel. They particularly valued the opportunity to raise awareness of the care and support they can provide as well as promoting the many benefits of employing someone who has served in the Services. It was a pleasure working with Stirling Council whose Provost, staff and elected members worked tirelessly to ensure the overwhelming success of this major event.”

Among those exhibiting in the Veterans’ Village was Stirling Chamber of Commerce which runs ViNE – Veterans into New Enterprise.

Stirling Chamber of Commerce CEO Laurence Barrett said: “Having major events such as Armed Forces Day help put Stirling centre stage as a destination of choice. They boost Stirling’s reputation as a tourist destination and this can only be good news for local businesses. I am pleased to say that we had a lot of interest in ViNE, which is a fully-funded programme designed to help ex-service personnel – their spouse, partner or other family – into self-employment.”

Among the performers were around 80 students from Queen Victoria School, Dunblane, which is the UK’s only school for the children of military families.

QVS Head Wendy Bellars said: “The Pipes, Drums and Dancers of Queen Victoria School were delighted to take part in the parade and the Drumhead ceremony at Armed Forces Day, before performing their own set in the main arena. Following the contingents from the Regular Services was an honour, and the pupils were a magnificent sight in their ceremonial uniforms. Stirling showed itself strongly on Armed Forces Day and it is an occasion that will stay long in the memories of those who were privileged to be part of it.”

QVS pupil Megan Adams also performed on the day, as one of the Poppy Girls singing group.

Stirling Council Leader Johanna Boyd said: “The feedback from the public and those who took part in the Armed Forces Day event has been overwhelming. It’s fantastic to have been able to put on an event which brought people so much pleasure, supported large numbers of charities, and which honoured the UK’s Armed Services. The event has also brought worldwide publicity for Stirling as a fabulous visitor destination and a great place to hold major events. Local hotels were full while bars and restaurants were buzzing. This is something we are determined to build on in order to bring the jobs, prosperity and investment our community needs.”



Tens of thousands turn out for Armed Forces Day National Event

Martin Gibson Johanna Boyde

Saturday 8th July

An estimated 35,000 people have visited Stirling's purpose-built Outdoor Events Arena alone for the Armed Forces Day National Event

Tens of thousands more people enjoyed the annual event from the nearby embankment at the foot of Stirling Castle, watched the dynamic air displays, visited the city centre and enjoyed Bannockburn Live.

Prime Minister David Cameron and First Minister Alex Salmond have both congratulated Stirling Council Leader Johanna Boyd and the city of Stirling for hosting a fantastic weekend of activities.

Mr Cameron said: "Today is an opportunity to celebrate our Armed Forces and to thank them for all they do, day in day out, to keep us safe. Stirling put forward a very good bid to host Armed Forces Day National Event and they've delivered in style. It's a great setting and there's a great turnout."

Mr Salmond said: "Stirling has taken centre stage this weekend with a number of high profile events; from Armed Forces Day National Event to show our respect to serving soldiers, veterans and military families and their selfless service to preserve our democratic freedoms, to Bannockburn Live which celebrates our cultural and ancestral heritage.

"The city's rich history, beautiful landscapes and attractions have captured the imagination of those who have travelled from far and wide to be here and celebrate one of the biggest weekends in Stirling has ever seen. And, in this year of Homecoming, we are showcasing the very best of Scotland – something we have certainly achieved this weekend."

Stirling Council Leader Johanna Boyd said: "Both the Prime Minister and First Minister told me they were impressed with Armed Forces Day National Event and the number of people who came to show their support for our Armed Forces. It's been an absolutely fantastic weekend for Stirling, a really superb success. I'd like to thank everyone who put their heart and soul in delivering Stirling's Big Weekend, and to the tens of thousands of visitors who showed their support and joined us."

Armed Forces Day aims to celebrate and express appreciation for the work and the outstanding contribution of the Armed Forces, and to recognise the serving personnel, reservists, cadets and veterans from all three services, and their families. Bannockburn Live is a major event to mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn with battle re-enactments, a clan village, a food and drink showcase and more. Pipefest will see more than 1600 pipers and drummers from across the world gather to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. Meanwhile Stirling’s Big Night Out is a chance for visitors to indulge in some late-night shopping, tour Stirling Castle or the Wallace Monument, or enjoy some live music and street performances.

Students prepare to cater for VIP's

Friday 27th June

Students prepare to cater for Armed Forces Day

Forth Valley College students and staff will be catering for some of the most important people in Britain, after being approached to provide hospitality for Stirling’s Armed Forces Day National Event on Saturday 28 June.

Hospitality students from across the Forth Valley area will be preparing and serving up a delicious buffet fit for a host of VIPs and guests from the political, diplomatic, academic and local communities.

Armed Forces Day National Event – at the new outdoor events area near Stirling Castle from 11.30am-6pm on Saturday 28 June – aims to celebrate and express appreciation for the work and the outstanding contribution of the Armed Forces, and to acknowledge serving personnel, reservists, cadets and veterans from all three services, and their families.

The national event includes current and vintage aircraft displays, and a colourful display by the Red Arrows. Tanks and other military vehicles will be at the events field, and there are plans for a tri-service simulated combat and rescue mission.

Diane Creed, Head of Forth Valley College’s Hospitality and Salon Services Department, said: “We are honoured to be providing the catering services for Armed Forces Day National Event and delighted that our talented students will be able to show just how professional they can be in preparing and serving food to some of the most high profile people in the country.

“This will be a great experience for them and an ideal occasion for the College’s outside catering service to show just what it can do at such an important event.”

Stirling’s Provost Mike Robbins added: “I’m delighted that Forth Valley College students will provide catering for this fantastic, free event, which is going to be one of the biggest and most colourful celebrations the city has ever seen. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the students and I can’t wait to see, and taste, what they produce.



Parking spaces for Stirling's AFDNE still available

Thursday 26th June

Parking tickets for Stirling's Armed Forces Day National Event on Saturday 28th June are still available to pre-purchase at the discounted price of £5 per ticket.

All-day parking tickets can be purchased online at parking or by calling the Albert Halls on 01786 473 544 between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Friday.

Motorists who pre-purchase parking tickets will receive information about the best routes to take into Stirling to help avoid any traffic delays. Anyone purchasing a parking ticket on the day of the event will be charged £10 per ticket.

Chief Executive Bob Jack said: "We're expecting tens of thousands of people to visit Stirling for the Armed Forces Day National Event and parking is strictly limited. We want to ensure everyone coming to Stirling has a great time, so we’re urging motorists to purchase parking tickets now."

Temporary car parking facilities are all close to the event in the west of the city. The main parking areas are within walking distance, with free shuttle services being provided from two sites that are a bit further away. In the event that all temporary car parking is allocated, motorists without a secured parking space will be diverted out of Stirling and encouraged to bus / train in from nearby locations (Bridge of Allan / Dunblane).

Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to converge on Stirling for the national event on Saturday 28th June. Gates are due to open at 8am, and traffic is expected to be busiest between 10am and 11.30am. Motorists should note that traffic restrictions will be in place during the parade, which is due to leave Stirling Castle Esplanade before 11.30am, make its way through the city's historic old town, and arrive at the new outdoor events arena at around 12.30pm.

  • If you have to drive, please car-share wherever possible.
    For more information, visit: Liftshare

  • Allow extra time for your journey and aim to arrive in Stirling before 10am or after 11am, when traffic will be heavy and delays are likely
  • Car parking facilities are available.
  • Follow the route outlined on your parking information letter, if you pre-purchased a parking space
  • Respect other road-users, local residents and spectators
  • Follow official Armed Forces Day National Event signage and listen to instructions from event stewards
  • Ensure your parking ticket is displayed clearly at all times
  • Visit Traffic Scotland for the latest travel information


Uniform to Work Day

Wednesday 25th June

Uniform to Work

Stirling's Provost Mike Robbins hosted an event for local reservists today (Wednesday 25th June) as part of Uniform to Work Day.

The Provost was joined by Lieutenant Tim Armour (Royal Naval Reserves), Lieutenant David Bentley (Royal Naval Reserves), Sergeant Gary Simpson: 7th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (Army Reserves), Private Marc O'Donnell: 154 (Scottish) Regiment Royal Logistics Corps (Army Reserves), Corporal Graham Finlay (Royal Air Force Reserves), Corporal Al Mitchell (Royal Air Force Reserves) and Wing Commander (retired) David Hazell, 43 Squadron Association.

Uniform to Work Day is an annual opportunity to show pride in the UK's military Reservists and part of a week of celebrations ahead of Armed Forces Day National Event, which takes place in Stirling on Saturday 28th June.

Stirling's Provost Mike Robbins said: "The Council is enormously proud of the contribution that local people make to the UK's Reserve Forces and we're delighted to host this small event for them today. Uniform to Work Day is of added importance to Stirling this year, as we're hosting the national event on Saturday, which will be a fantastic free family day out."

Members of the Reserve Forces who live or serve locally are invited to send photos of themselves in uniform to: Media. These will be shared via social media.



Stirling Council and Visit Scotland look forward to welcoming visitors to Stirling’s Big Weekend

24 June 2014

With only a couple of days to go until Stirling’s Big Weekend, Stirling Provost Mike Robbins and VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay are looking forward to welcoming tens of thousands of visitors to the city.Stirling's Big Weekend features the Armed Forces Day National Event on Saturday, Bannockburn Live (Saturday and Sunday), Pipefest (Friday) and Stirling's Big Night Out (Saturday). Oganisers from both events have been working closely together to ensure it's a fantastic experience for all who attend.

Stirling's Provost Mike Robbins said: "Stirling Council and Visit Scotland have worked hard together to make sure that everyone coming to Stirling this weekend has a wonderful time. Between National Armed Forces Day and Bannockburn Live, there really is a spectacular programme of events on offer this weekend and we hope that most visitors are able to make it to both events, to make the most of what is sure to be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Visit Scotland chairman Mike Cantlay said: "The final countdown is on! The teams for Pipefest, Armed Forces Day National Event and Bannockburn Live are working hard to ensure Stirling’s Big Weekend is one to remember. Never before has this stunning city hosted as many tourists from all over the world and it really is Stirling’s time to shine, showcasing the attractions, landscapes and history of this amazing area. This weekend tourism will be everyone’s business in Stirling!

“I am very excited to be attending all the events over the weekend with my family and enjoying the sounds of pipes and drums, the sights of stunning aerial displays and the smell of fresh Scottish food along with the many people from home and abroad who have made the trip to Stirling to experience this spectacle. This is truly what the year of Homecoming Scotland is all about and we look forward to welcoming the world.”

Visitors will be able to enjoy both Armed Forces Day National Event and Bannockburn Live on Saturday 28th June. Tickets for Bannockburn Live (Sunday 29th June) will be on sale at Armed Forces Day National Event.



Stirling's AFDNE principal sponsors announced

Tuesday 24th June

Stirling Council has today (Tuesday 24th June) announced the principal sponsors of the Armed Forces Day National Event, which takes in the city on Saturday 28th June.

The Council is delighted to confirm that BAE Systems, Boeing, Finemeccanica, Poppyscotland / Royal British Legion, Royal Bank of Scotland and the Weir Group will contribute a combined total of more than £65,000.

Along with UK Government funding of £80,000 and Scottish Government funding of £80,000, it means that Stirling Council has exceeded its fundraising target of £190,000.

Stirling Council Leader Johanna Boyd said: “I'm thrilled that we've been able to secure the support of these major British businesses, in addition to the generous funding already received from the UK Government and anticipated from the Scottish Government.

“Stirling is proud to be hosting this year's Armed Forces Day National Event, which celebrates the contribution the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force make to our society. It will be a fantastic, free family-friendly event that will create a significant tourism boost to the city and inject an estimated £1 million into the local economy.

“I hope people from everywhere can join us for what will be a truly memorable occasion, and one of the biggest celebrations the city has ever hosted.”

Armed Forces Day aims to celebrate and express appreciation for the work and the outstanding contribution of the Armed Forces, and to recognise the serving personnel, reservists, cadets and veterans from all three services, and their families.

Stirling's national event includes current and vintage aircraft displays, including an appearance by the Red Arrows. Tanks and other military vehicles will be on display and there are plans for a tri-service simulated combat and rescue mission. There's also a parade, drumhead service and live music.

Type 26 Global Combat Ship Programme Director at BAE Systems Geoff Searle said: "It's a real privilege to work at BAE Systems and provide equipment and services to the dedicated men and women of our armed forces. We are delighted to show our support and thanks through sponsorship of the Armed Forces Day National Event at Stirling."

Finmeccanica UK Chief Executive Alberto de Benedictis said: “Finmeccanica in the UK and our company Selex ES are extremely proud to once again be supporting Armed Forces Day with which we have had a long standing relationship. Armed Forces Day provides a unique opportunity for us all to pay thanks to the men and women who serve this country with such distinction. We are committed to helping them stay safe and will be there on the day to lend them our wholehearted support."

Poppyscotland Chief Executive Ian McGregor said: “Poppyscotland, together with our parent charity The Royal British Legion, are delighted to support the Armed Forces Day National Event in 2014. As Stirling is the host city, the event gives us an excellent opportunity to highlight both the wide range of vital support provided by Poppyscotland to those in the Armed Forces community living north of the Border, and the complementary services of The Royal British Legion throughout the rest of the UK.”

Rod Reading, Area Manager RBS Holt's Military Banking Team said:

Holt's are proud to have been associated with the Armed Forces for over 200 years. We offer a dedicated service for Regiments/Units, RAF Stations and Navy Ships as well as unique facilities for serving military personnel.

Our involvement for those serving ranges from the newest recruit at age 16 and up to the most senior officers in all 3 Services.

Weir Group PLC Chief Executive Keith Cochrane said: “Weir is proud to sponsor UK Armed Forces Day and to play our part in recognising the contribution made by all service personnel. It is particularly poignant this year, which marks the hundredth anniversary of the start of the First World War, as we remember the sacrifices made by 91 Weir workers in that conflict.”

Helping sponsor an event such as the Armed Forces Day in Stirling is a privilege and helps us demonstrate our support for the tremendous work our Armed Forces carry out around the world.

The estimated cost of Stirling's Armed Forces Day National Event is around £524,000. As part of the event, Stirling is providing an extra 9000 temporary parking spaces, something that other host towns and cities have not required, adding to the overall cost of the event.

Projections suggest the event will earn an additional £1 million for the local economy as well as attracting worldwide publicity for Stirling as a visitor destination.



Armed Forces Day celebrations launched with flag raising at Stirling Castle

Monday 23rd June, 2014

Raising the flagRaising the flag

A week of UK-wide celebrations began today with the raising of the Armed Forces Day flag at Stirling Castle.

Flag raising is a traditional part of the run up to Armed Forces Day. This year it takes place at hundreds of locations across the UK, many of which will be holding their own local events to show their support for the work of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.

Stirling's Provost Mike Robbins said: "It's a huge honour for Stirling to be hosting this year's Armed Forces Day National Event. It was a proud moment for the city of Stirling when we raised the flag over the castle. This is a city with long and deep links to the British Armed Forces and we are very much looking forward to welcoming people from all across the UK to enjoy a fantastic, fun, free and family-friendly event this Saturday."

Attending the Stirling flag raising were Deputy Commander of the Stirling-based 51 Infantry Brigade Colonel Robert Jeffries, along with buglers, and personnel from all three services and a representative of Veterans Scotland

Uniform to Work Day

Saturday 21st June

Stirling Council is encouraging residents to support Uniform to Work Day on Wednesday 25th June, which is an annual opportunity to show pride in the UK’s military Reservists.

Reservists come from all walks of life, with day jobs of every kind, and are a vital part of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.

Uniform to Work Day takes place ahead of the Armed Forces Day National Event in Stirling on Saturday 28th June. It is a chance for Reservists to wear their uniforms with pride, and for the public to learn more about the contribution that ordinary citizens make to our Armed Forces.

Members of the Reserve Forces who live or serve locally are being invited to send photos of themselves, in uniform, to Stirling Council. These will be shared via social media.

Among those taking part in Uniform to Work Day will be David Bentley (39) an IT Development Manager who works for HSBC in Stirling. He is a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy Reserves based at HMS SCOTIA in Rosyth and is encouraging people to go to the Armed Forces Day National Event.

David said: "For me, Uniform to Work Day is about demonstrating that reservists exist extensively within the civilian population and can be found in most walks of life.  It's also a small step to help normalise the wearing of military uniforms in public once again. In addition, having the Armed Forces Day National Event in Stirling is a great choice. The setting in the heart of Scotland just down from Stirling Castle probably cannot be bettered by any other UK City. And the history of strong military recruitment from the area justifies that choice.”

The UK’s only school for military families, Queen Victoria School in Dunblane, is closely involved with Uniform to Work Day and the Armed Forces Day National Event.

QVS Head Wendy Bellars said: “All our pupils come from Regular Armed Forces families and are very proud of what Navy, Army and Air Force personnel achieve. Seeing uniforms in the workplace on this special occasion is a mark of the respect in which Servicemen and Servicewomen are held by UK society. We uphold the same values and are looking forward to taking part in the Armed Forces Day National Event in Stirling on Saturday 28th June.”

Stirling Council is holding a private event on Wednesday 25th June to thank local Reservists for their work in the services and their contribution to the Armed Forces Day National Event.

Stirling's Provost Mike Robbins said: “The Council is enormously proud of the contribution that local people make to the UK’s Reserve Forces and would encourage everyone to support Uniform to Work Day. Reservists from this area play a vital role in all three services, and have had tours of duty in incredibly tough places like Afghanistan. Uniform to Work Day is all the more important this year because we have the Armed Forces Day National Event to look forward to on Saturday, which is going to be a great free family day out.”

Anyone wishing to send in a picture of themselves should email it, with their name, unit and a little about themselves, to: Media



Red Arrows to soar above Stirling for Armed Forces Day

Friday 20th June, 2014

Current and historic military aircraft will fill the skies of Stirling on Saturday 28 June, as the city leads the sixth annual Armed Forces Day celebrations on behalf on the nation.

The spectacular aviation programme will include the world famous Red Arrows, now in their 50th year, who will be putting on a spectacular display for the crowds at the Armed Forces Day national event.

With their coloured smoke and daring aerobatics, the nine Red Arrows pilots will conclude the day’s festivities in Stirling. The Red Arrows represent the speed, agility and precision of the Royal Air Force and are one of the world’s premier aerobatic teams.

Red Arrows Flight Lieutenant Stew Campbell, otherwise known as ‘Red 2’ from the Royal Burgh of Peebles in the Scottish Borders, said: "Myself and my fellow team are very proud to be taking part in the Armed Forces Day national event in Stirling. Having flown on operational combat tours overseas, I know how important it is for my fellow Servicemen and women to have the support of the people back home.”

Throughout the afternoon visitors will get the chance to see a variety of aircraft in the skies, including the impressive Typhoon and Tornado fast jets that protect UK airspace 365 days a year and provide close air support to operations. Spectators of the operational capability demonstrations will get a taste for just how vital air support is, when Sea King, Apache and Puma helicopters descend above the main arena.

Historic aircraft will also be present for the national event, with displays from the famous Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane of the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, who recently flew in Normandy to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The Royal Navy Historic Flight will be represented by two World War II craft, a Sea Fury and Swordfish.

In addition, during the afternoon’s celebrations members of the Red Devils - the official parachute display team of British Army - and the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team, will put on a colourful aerial display when they parachute into the main arena.

Stirling's Provost Mike Robbins said: “We're incredibly proud to be hosting this year’s Armed Forces Day national event. It’s going to be a fantastic, free, family-friendly event and one of the biggest and most colourful celebrations the city has ever seen. There's guaranteed to be something for everyone with a plethora of activities, performances and displays and I hope people of all ages from near and far can join us for this unmissable event.



Win National Express Coach Tickets

Monday 16th June, 2014

The Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force do an amazing job and Armed Forces Day gives all of us the chance to show our support.

This year, Stirling has been chosen to host the UK Armed Forces Day National Event on Saturday 28th June. There will be spectacular aerial displays, a parade of serving personnel and veterans, music, entertainment and much, much more.

National Express is offering five pairs of coach tickets for a special competition to celebrate this huge event in one of Scotland's most historic cities.

All you have to do to enter is tell us in 140 characters, or less, why you think its important to celebrate the UK's Armed Forces. We may Tweet our favourites, and could include some on Facebook and here on our website.

The top five entries will each receive a pair of tickets. These can be used to come to Stirling on Saturday 28th June. Winners will be informed by email and tickets will be informed online.

Full information about coach services and fares is available at National Express Please note: National Express is not liable for any losses or injury in conjunction with the prize and all travel must be in accordance with our conditions of carriage, available on its website.

To enter:

Email us telling us in in 140 characters or less why you think it’s important to celebrate the UK's Armed Forces. Entries need to be sent by 5pm on Friday, June 27

Stirling's Provost Mike Robbins said: "I'm delighted that National Express is supporting Armed Forces Day National Event. Good luck to everyone who participates, and we look forward to welcoming visitors from near and far to Stirling's Armed Forces Day National Event on Saturday 28th June."

Stirling's Armed Forces Day National Event is part of Stirling's Big Weekend. This once-in-a-lifetime event, which takes place from Friday 27th June to Sunday 29th June, will have something for everyone with an event calendar that also includes Bannockburn Live, Pipefest, Stirling Castle and Wallace Monument tours, street performances, live music, parades and late-night shopping.

Parking spaces cost £10 each but, for a strictly limited time, are available for just £5. Visitors are being urged to pre-purchase their spaces to ensure they don't miss out. To book your parking space, visit: parking You can also call the Albert Halls on 01786 473 544 between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Friday to secure your space

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to attend Stirling's AFDNE

Thursday 12th June

Stirling Council is delighted that Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal will attend the Armed Forces Day National Event in Stirling on Saturday 28th June.

As part of the event, The Princess Royal will take the Salute as a parade of Service personnel, veterans and cadets march from Stirling Castle Esplanade to the new outdoor events arena nearby.

Her Royal Highness is Admiral and Chief Commandant for Women in the Royal Navy. She is also Royal Colonel of The Royal Scots Borderers, the 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (1 SCOTS), who will be represented in the Massed Pipes and Drums taking part in the parade.

Stirling’s Provost Mike Robbins said: "We're absolutely delighted to welcome The Princess Royal to Stirling for the Armed Forces Day National Event. We're incredibly proud to be hosting such a spectacular event and hope that people from across the UK and abroad will join us for the celebrations."

Armed Forces Day aims to celebrate and express appreciation for the work and the outstanding contribution of the Armed Forces, and to recognise the serving personnel, reservists, cadets and veterans from all three services, and their families.

Stirling's national event includes current and vintage aircraft displays, including an appearance by the Red Arrows. Tanks and other military vehicles will be on display and there are plans for a tri-service simulated combat and rescue mission. There's also a parade, drumhead service and live music.

Provost Robbins added: "There's a real enthusiasm and excitement building for Armed Forces Day National Event. Our event will honour UK's Armed Forces, and recognise their outstanding contribution to the defence of this great nation. It will also reflect the uniqueness of Stirling in terms of its surroundings, history, as a modern contemporary location and its recognised links to the Armed Forces."

Visitors to Stirling's national event are being urged to pre-purchase parking spaces. Parking tickets cost £10 each, but for a strictly limited time they are available for just £5 each. You can also call the Albert Halls on 01786 473 544 between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Friday to secure your space

Parking facilities are all close to the event in the west of the city. The main parking areas are within walking distance, with free shuttle services being provided from two sites that are a bit further away. To book your parking space, To book your parking space, visit: parking

Excitement builds for Stirling’s AFDNE

Wednesday 11th June

Excitement is building for the free Armed Forces Day National Event, which takes place in Stirling on Saturday 28th June.

Olympic gold medallist and Wimbledon champion Andy Murray said: "As Stirling's latest freeman, I'm proud that the city is hosting the Armed Forces Day National Event. I know it will be a terrific event and I hope people from across the country, and indeed the UK, are able to attend and show their support."

The fantastic, family-friendly event aims to recognise the outstanding contribution of the armed forces. It includes current and vintage aircraft displays, an array of tanks and other military vehicles, a parade, drumhead service and live music.

Stirling’s Provost Mike Robbins said: "There is huge enthusiasm for the Armed Forces Day National Event and we’re looking forward to welcoming visitors from across the UK and abroad. This event is a chance for the whole country to show its support for UK service men and women past and present, and will be one of the biggest, most fun and colourful celebrations the city has ever hosted."

Brigadier Paul Harkness added: "It has been a pleasure supporting Stirling Council in preparing for Armed Forces Day National Event. I’m confident that the Council’s hard work will pay off and result in a fantastic day out for the people of Scotland to celebrate the contribution of the Armed Forces, past and present, to the defence and security of our nation."

The Armed Forces Day National Event is part of Stirling’s Big Weekend. This once-in-a-lifetime event, which takes place from Friday 27th June to Sunday 29th June, will have something for everyone with an event calendar that also includes Bannockburn Live, Pipefest, Stirling Castle and Wallace Monument tours, street performances, live music, parades and late-night shopping.

Visitors to Stirling's Armed Forces Day National Event are being urged to pre-purchase parking spaces. Parking tickets cost £10 each, but for a strictly limited time they are available for just £5 each. You can also call the Albert Halls on 01786 473 544 between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Friday to secure your space

Parking facilities are all close to the event in the west of the city. The main parking areas are within walking distance, with free shuttle services being provided from two sites that are a bit further away. To book your parking space, visit: parking

AFDNE - UK Government Funding Announcement

Friday 6th June, 2014

On Friday 6th June, the UK Government announced additional funding of £55,000 towards the Armed Forces Day National Event in Stirling on Saturday 28th June, bringing its total contribution to £80,000.

This, combined with private sector sponsorship and anticipated support from the Scottish Government, means that Stirling Council is on course to meet its fundraising target of £190,000.

Stirling Council Leader Johanna Boyd said: “The Armed Forces Day National Event will be a spectacular occasion - one of the biggest events of 2014. It will bring together people from the whole of the UK for a really fun day that celebrates the contribution the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force make to our society.

“We have been in positive discussions with the UK Government for some time now about the cost of providing enough temporary car parking and warmly welcome this generous extra funding.

“Stirling’s links with our Armed Forces stretch back for centuries and we are particularly proud to be hosting this event in the year which marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day, and the liberation of Europe by soldiers from every part of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

Scotland Office Minister Rt Hon David Mundell MP said: “I am delighted to announce a further £55,000 of funding from the UK Government to support the event, bringing our total contribution up to £80,000. We are proud to play our part in making Stirling’s Big Weekend a resounding success.

“The Armed Forces Day National Event is a chance to show our support for the Armed Forces - serving Regular and Reserve personnel, cadets and veterans. Stirling is one of our most beautiful cities and it will be a superb focal point for the UK-wide celebrations.

“Our UK Armed Forces contribute a huge amount to our safety and security. They act as peacekeepers all round the world, they are involved in combatting drug trafficking and piracy and do vital humanitarian work including air sea rescue.

“As well as marking significant anniversaries in the First and Second World Wars, this year also sees the end of combat operations in Afghanistan and the return of many of our troops. Scotland has more than 400,000 veterans; they and their families deserve our support for all they have done.

“I’d encourage everyone interested in supporting our Armed Forces to come along to the event, which is a free, fun family day out with lots for people of all ages to do.”

As part of the event, Stirling is providing an extra 9000 temporary parking spaces, something that other host towns and cities have not required, adding to the overall cost of the event.

The Armed Forces Day National Event will include:

  • Parade and Drumhead service
  • Flypast of current and vintage aircraft - including the Red Arrows
  • Parachute displays
  • Tri-Service simulated combat and rescue mission
  • Tanks and other current military vehicles
  • A collection of 26 vintage military vehicles
  • The largest ever Veterans Village
  • Live music and entertainment including Highland Dancing.

Stirling Council will soon be announcing a series of private sector sponsorship deals and is awaiting final confirmation from the Scottish Government that it will contribute £80,000 - the same it awarded when Edinburgh hosted the event in 2011.

Projections suggest the event will earn an additional £1 million for the local economy as well as attracting worldwide publicity for Stirling as a visitor destination.

The Armed Forces Day National Event is just one part of Stirling’s Big Weekend, which also includes Bannockburn Live, Pipefest and Stirling’s Big Night Out.

Motorcycling veterans and vintage military vehicles to join Stirling’s Armed Forces Day National Event

Tuesday 27th May, 2014

Motorcycle CavalcadeDozens of veterans will form an impressive motorcycle cavalcade as a prelude to the huge Armed Forces Day National Event parade through Stirling on Saturday 28th June.

With just one month to go, Veterans Scotland and Stirling Council have revealed further details about what promises to be one of the biggest and most colourful events the city has ever hosted.

Some 1200 veterans of all ages, from their 80s to their 20s, are expected to take part in the parade alongside hundreds of serving personnel and cadets. The parade starts at Stirling Castle’s esplanade and makes its way down through the beautiful Old Town, with cadets and veterans joining it near the Albert Halls, before it moves to the new outdoor events arena in the ancient Royal Parklands.

A superb collection of 26 vintage military vehicles, including a 1960s Saracen APC and a World War II Matchless motorbike, will be among the star attractions at the events field. There will also be a Veterans’ Village (the largest ever at an Armed Forces Day event) with all sorts of activities and entertainment to enjoy such as a Typhoon flight simulator and the Help for Heroes bears. And the whole event is absolutely free.

The Veterans’ Programme was launched today (Tuesday 27th May) at a gathering of former and current members of the UK armed forces. The gathering included two motorbike-mounted members of the Legion Scotland (Royal British Legion Scotland) Riders Branch Colin Macnab, who has 37 years of service and is a member of the Royal Logistic Corps, on his Yamaha DragStar and Jim Quin of REME, on a sports bike. Ex-Tornado F3 navigator Claire Birch and D-Day veteran Peter Cook McColl also joined them.

Veterans Scotland Executive Chairman Martin Gibson said: “The parade will be a fabulous spectacle, preceded by a cavalcade of motorbikes which will wind down the cobbled streets from the castle esplanade to the events field where there will be a whole day of fun and live entertainment. We are extremely proud that about 1200 veterans of all ages, from each of the three services and from every part of the UK will be marching in the parade.

“We’re really looking forward to welcoming the public to see the Veterans’ Village and the vintage military vehicles – which will be some of the big attractions of this really great family day out.”

Veterans Scotland is the umbrella organisation for services charities in Scotland and has played a key role in Stirling’s Armed Forces Day National Event.

Members of around three-dozen veterans’ groups will be marching in the parade. Former members of the Argylls, the Black Watch, the Scots Guards, The Women’s Royal Naval Service and the Parachute Regiment, will be shoulder to shoulder with veterans from the Royal Navy, the Merchant Navy, the Royal Observer Corps, the Royal Air Force and the Women’s Royal Army Corps. Four pipe bands will accompany them. There will also be Chelsea Pensioners and members of groups such as the War Widows Association of Great Britain.

The veterans taking part will include people who served in many different roles to help protect the UK, and other countries, from many different threats. There will be men and women who served in Suez, the Falklands, Iraq, Afghanistan – as well as those who helped prevent the Cold War turning hot.

Procost Mike Robbins on a motorbikeStirling’s Provost Mike Robbins said: “The enthusiasm among veterans for this event has been incredible and it will be fantastic to see so many of them marching through Stirling – with its long and close links to the UK armed forces. The motorbike riders, the vintage vehicles and the presence of so many people who have served our country in so many ways will be fantastic.

“Stirling’s Armed Forces Day National Event will be one of the biggest, most fun and colourful celebrations the city has ever hosted and is a chance for the whole country to show its support for UK service men and women past and present.

Riders Branch Chairman Colin Macnab said: “The motorbikes will be a really impressive sight and we are very much looking forward to the Armed Forces Day National Event in Stirling. It’ll be a really great family day out and brilliant way to celebrate the achievements of the UK’s Army, Navy and Air Force.”

Many branches of Legion Scotland will be taking part in the parade, including the Riders Branch. Legion Scotland CEO Kevin Gray MM said: “We are delighted that our Riders, Standard Bearers and veterans from many of our branches will take part in the Armed Forces Day event in Stirling to show our support for all UK’s Armed Forces past and present.

"With the 70th anniversary of D-Day landings and centenary of World War One, this year has a special significance at a time like Armed Forces Day and we are honoured that our Riders Branch can be at the heart of this national event to pay our heartfelt respects to those who work to keep us safe today.

"Secretary and Treasurer of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Association Major (Retd) Bob Elliot BEM said: “It is a great credit to Stirling Council that the city has been selected to host this event. It provides a great opportunity for veterans and others to gather and share a sense of camaraderie and community spirit.

"As Stirling is a very special place for Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders veterans it is being planned to gather as many as possible to march through the city as a reminder of the service given by so many to Queen and country. We look forward to joining with our regular forces, and many other veteran organisations, in celebrating a very special day which highlights the achievements of the military and to show our gratitude to the many folk who turn out to be a part of Armed Forces Day.

"Royal Air Forces Association Area Director, Scotland and Northern Ireland Joe Stanfield said: “Many of our veterans will support the Armed Forces Day National Event. It's something that we are really looking forward to, especially as Stirling has such close links with the RAF, after all it was here in 1916 that the famous 43 Fighter Squadron was formed as a Unit of the Royal Flying Corps.

"The Armed Forces Day National Event is just one part of Stirling’s Big Weekend, which also includes Bannockburn Live, Pipefest and Stirling’s Big Night Out.

AFDNE parking spaces on sale

Monday 26th May, 2014

Parking spaces for Stirling's Armed Forces Day National Event are on sale now here. To book your parking space, visit: parking

Parking spaces cost £10 each but, for a strictly limited time, are available for just £5. Visitors are being urged to pre-purchase their spaces to ensure they don’t miss out.

Stirling’s Armed Forces Day National Event is part of Stirling’s Big Weekend. This once-in-a-lifetime event, which takes place from Friday 27th June to Sunday 29th June, will have something for everyone with an event calendar that also includes Bannockburn Live, Pipefest, Stirling Castle and Wallace Monument tours, street performances, live music, parades and late-night shopping.

Chief Executive Bob Jack said: “We’re expecting tens of thousands of people to visit the city for Stirling’s Armed Forces Day National Event, and we want to ensure everyone has the best possible experience.

“We’re encouraging visitors to pre-purchase parking spaces, car-share wherever possible, and plan their journey in ahead of time to avoid unnecessary delays and to maximise their experience. For more information about travelling to the event, and the various activities taking place, to book your parking space, visit: parking  

Armed Forces Day National Event aims to celebrate and express appreciation for the work and the outstanding contribution of the Armed Forces, and to recognise the serving personnel, reservists, cadets and veterans from all three services, including their families. 

The Stirling event will reflect the uniqueness of the city in terms of its surroundings, history, as a modern contemporary location and its recognised links to the Armed Forces.

Temporary parking facilities will be available close to the event and must be purchased in advance of the event on Saturday 28th June. Please remember to book your parking space.

AFDNE veterans programme launch

Friday 23rd May, 2014

On Tuesday (27th May), Stirling Council and Veterans Scotland will unveil further details of the spectacular Armed Forces Day National Event being hosted in the city next month.

The Veterans Programme will be revealed at a photo and interview opportunity in Broad Street, in Stirling’s historic Old Town, at 10am on Tuesday 27th May.

Two members of the Legion Scotland (Royal British Legion Scotland) Riders Branch will be present on their motorbikes, along with other veterans. These will include former Tornado F3 fighter navigator Claire Birch and a local D-Day veteran – of particular significance as the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings is nearing. Representative of Veterans Scotland and other organisations taking part in AFDNE will also be present.

The photo opportunity in Broad Street is on the route of the main AFDNE parade, and near some 19th century canons and the old market cross.

Lord Elgin, Head of the Bruce Family, Looks Forward to Armed Forces Day National Event

Friday 16th May, 2014

Lord Elgin, World War II veteran and head of the Bruce family, has given his backing to Stirling’s Armed Forces Day National Event on 28th June.

The earl, who lives near Dunfermline, is also enthusiastic about the other events taking place during Stirling’s Big Weekend, which include Bannockburn Live (which marks the 700th anniversary of Robert the Bruce’s battle at Bannockburn) and Pipefest.

Lord Elgin, hereditary chief of the Family of Bruce, believes it is important for people to understand more about what the UK military achieves and to show their support.

As a 20-year-old Scots Guards lieutenant he went to Normandy, shortly after D-Day, to assist in the massive Allied breakout which paved the way for the liberation of Europe from the Nazis.

With the 70th anniversary of D-Day approaching, he believes it is the ideal time for people to show their appreciation for Britain’s Army, Navy and Air Forces by supporting the Armed Forces Day National Event.

Lord Elgin, who was severely wounded in battle when his Churchill tank was destroyed, believes people know too little about what the armed forces of today achieve. He said: “Events like Armed Forces Day are utterly essential to retain awareness. We need our armed services.

“One example is how we intervened in Sierra Leone about 15 years ago. A tiny and efficient force went in to bring peace and managed to calm the situation down. That was tremendous work.” Mike Robbins, Stirling Provost, said: “Lord Elgin is a truly remarkable man who was involved in one of the most momentous struggles the UK has ever had to fight.

“His family’s past brings together so much of Scottish history – uniting the great cultural events taking place in Stirling during our Big Weekend.

“The defence of Britain from the Nazis, and the liberation of Europe from Hitler’s control, was a defining moment in world history and the Armed Forces Day National Event is a chance for the whole country to show its support for veterans and serving personnel, for the sacrifices they have made and all they have achieved on our behalf.”

About Lord Elgin

Andrew Bruce is 11th Earl of Elgin and 15th Earl of Kincardine, hereditary chief of the Family of Bruce and a former Convenor of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs. He has been Honorary Colonel of the 31 Combat Engineer Regiment) since 1970 in Canada and of the 153 (Highland) Transport Regiment from 1976 to 1986.

Record in World War Two

In 1944, as a 20-year-old Scots Guards lieutenant (then styled Lord Bruce), he trained in the Kent countryside in preparation for the Allied liberation of Nazi occupied Europe. In the weeks after D-Day he landed on the beach at Arromanches as the troop commander in charge of three Churchill tanks and 15 men.

In the days and weeks that followed they pushed forward as part of the massive breakout which was essential to prevent German forces from bottling up the liberation forces. The fighting was intense and the 20-year-old lieutenant was involved in three battles. During that time two of the tanks were destroyed and six of his men killed.

Lord Elgin's Tank

During August he was ordered forward to assist a beleaguered unit of Welsh guards. As they advanced they came under attack from a concealed German position and an anti-tank grenade was hurled down the turret. Dundonian wireless operator, Guardsman Willie Brand, was killed and Lord Bruce’s hand and right leg were badly damaged.

Despite the attack, and the tank being beyond use, (see image of tanks) the three remaining crew were determined to do all they could. They left Lord Bruce propped up against the tank and promised to send help while they – armed only with pistols – headed to the front to do what they could to support the Welsh soldiers.

“I didn’t notice how badly damaged my leg was at first, but then I saw that there were bones sticking through and realised that unless I did something pretty quickly I would bleed to death.” A soldier insisted on giving him his field dressing and he made a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.

On hearing tanks approaching he decided to play dead in case they were German. “I heard them stop and tried to stay absolutely still. Then I heard the voice of a brother officer saying ‘Oh dear, it’s poor old Andrew, he was such a terrifically nice chap’. I opened my eyes and said ‘less of the was’. That was my first obituary – 70 years ago.”

Letter by Nurse Lorna Bruce

The return home was full of incident – he recalls being told by a medic that next time he should tie the tourniquet nearer the wound. In field hospital a nurse helped him write a letter (see image of letter from Nurse Lorna Bruce) home to tell his parents that he was still alive, but wounded. Something he has to this day. Though he never discovered the identity of the nurse it turned out that she had gone with his aunt Veronica to nurse troops in the First World War. Despite being too old to be eligible to work in the second, she had simply donned a uniform and boarded a troop ship to France, joined up with a field hospital and set to work.

His mother kept in touch with the wireless operator’s widow and helped her, and their two children, find decent housing.

On arrival in England he was almost mistaken for a prisoner and nearly taken to a PoW camp. When the mistake was realised he was then apologised to by an officer who said all the officers’ ambulances had now gone, would he mind another one or prefer to wait…

The surgeons fully expected that his leg would need to be amputated, but thanks to the quality of care he received it recovered.

Chief of Clan Bruce

As chief of the Family of Bruce, Lord Elgin has a keen sense of history and was recently an honoured guest at the opening of the Bannockburn Visitor Centre – his family having helped save the battlefield for the nation.

He is enthusiastic about Stirling’s Big Weekend – which combines both Bannockburn Live and the Armed Forces Day National Event.

Lord Elgin is also organising a religious service to commemorate the Bruces of the middle ages. In part it will highlight the magnanimity Robert the Bruce showed to captives after Bannockburn, which he said “was a wonder of the royal courts of Europe”. It will pay respect to his own ancestors who, in the 1050s, were supporters of Malcolm III following the reign of Macbeth.



Big Weekend Volunteers

Tuesday 13th May, 2014

Are you a Stirling local with great knowledge of the city?

Would you like to share it with thousands of visitors who will be coming to Stirling for Stirling’s Big Weekend 27-29 June (including Armed Forces’ Day, Bannockburn Live, Pipe Fest and Stirling’s Big Night Out) and other events throughout the year?

Then Stirling Council needs you. We need local people who would be happy to give visitors a friendly welcome and help them with advice on: ·

  • Directions
  • How to get to event venues
  • Public transport information
  • Where to eat, drink, shop and visit

If you can give us two hours’ or more of your time over Stirling’s Big Weekend from 27-29 June, please apply by emailing us.

Training and travel expenses will be provided.

Stirling Armed Forces Day

Tuesday 13th May, 2014

Business and tourism leaders have rallied behind Stirling’s Armed Forces Day National Event and proposals to make the city a leading venue for major outdoor celebrations and festivals.

Armed Forces Day National Event, Pipefest and Bannockburn Live are part of Stirling's Big Weekend, which takes place from Friday 27th – Sunday 29th June and is expected to attract tens of thousands of people to the city and and bring substantial economic benefits.

Stirling Council Leader Johanna Boyd said: “An important legacy of the Armed Forces Day National Event will be the creation of a new events ground in the royal parklands below Stirling Castle. A venue in such a fabulous location can be used to stage cultural and historical events of many kinds in the years ahead, providing an important opportunity for local businesses and the tourism industry.”

The Chamber of Commerce close links with the armed forces, actively working to help veterans into business after they leave the services.

Stirling Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Laurence Barrett said: “There is a lot of enthusiasm from businesses for the Armed Forces Day National Event and the rest of the Big Weekend. Having major events in the city provides real opportunities for businesses of all kinds. It’s like throwing a pebble in the pond, the benefits go far beyond the restaurants, hotels and retailers in the centre of the city and ripple out to their suppliers and to businesses throughout the rest of the area.”

Thistles Shopping Centre Director Tony Wikes said: “This year’s Armed Forces Day National Event has really put the spotlight on the city, and will increase footfall not only for the event, but introduce Stirling as a top must-see destination across the UK way beyond the event itself. Such events hold invaluable benefits for the city, and are something that we should seek to actively encourage.”

The Thistles is home to around 90 stores in the city centre.

Armed Forces Day National Event is expected to generate around £1 million in direct business benefits. There will also be national and international publicity, raising the area’s profile as a destination. Stirling’s aim is to encourage visitors to see the area as somewhere to base themselves for short breaks and holidays.

Destination Stirling Manager Geoff Morrison said: “The Armed Forces Day National Event is a chance to show the world that Stirling is the perfect place to host high quality historical and cultural events – and in an absolutely unbeatable location.

“This is a market we want to see developed as it encourages people to come here and spend some time enjoying the city, the historic monuments and the amazing countryside – including Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Once people have had a taste of what we have to offer I am confident they will want to come back.”

Major events can provide a boost for existing visitor attractions, and the Regimental Museum of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, inside Stirling Castle, is keen to see events take place that highlight the area’s proud military traditions.

Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Trust Chief Executive Rob Layden said: “The Regimental Museum is pleased to support the major events taking place in Stirling this year and the creation of Destination Stirling as a marketing group. Both these initiatives they will help to put Stirling as a key Scottish destination in future years.”

Meanwhile, Stirling's Provost Mike Robbins said Armed Forces Day National Event provided the city with a once-in-a-generation chance to define itself as a major centre for events.

He said: “There is huge enthusiasm for the Armed Forces Day National Event, and the rest of the Big Weekend, from the business community. They recognise that this is the perfect opportunity to build Stirling’s reputation as somewhere to visit and as a great venue for outdoor events. We have excellent transport links, lots of superb attractions including the new Bannockburn Visitor Centre, and much more to offer. The new events ground will add to these and allow us to attract visitors from all over Scotland and far beyond.

“This is a superb way to help regenerate the economy after years of recession and to provide new opportunities for businesses, to create new jobs and to attract tourists.”

Stirling Council welcomes Armed Forces Day Event support from leading Scottish political figures

Thursday 17th April, 2014

Provost Mike RobbinsStirling Council has welcomed high profile support from leading figures across the political spectrum for the UK Armed Forces Day National Event.

A motion welcoming the spectacular event on Saturday 28th June that was put to the Scottish Parliament by Labour MSP Richard Simpson has attracted the backing of two dozen colleagues from his own party, the SNP, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

MP Anne McGuire has also voiced support for the event which, along with Pipefest and Bannockburn Live, will be a highlight of Stirling’s biggest ever weekend of celebrations.

Stirling’s Provost Mike Robbins said: “There is real pride and enthusiasm building up for Stirling’s Armed Forces Day National Event and we are looking forward to one of the biggest and most colourful celebrations the city has ever seen.

“It’s tremendous that we’re getting so much support for this event, and everything else going on during Stirling’s big weekend, from all across the political spectrum.

“For centuries Scots have served alongside comrades from England, Wales and Northern Ireland and have made a tremendous contribution to our society and our nation’s safety and this is a chance to show our support.”

The parliamentary motion described the weekend as “an unmissable combination of events, demonstrating the richness of Scotland's culture and history”.

It also welcomed the economic benefits with the Armed Forces Day National Event alone expected to generate an additional £1M for the local economy and the same again in global publicity.

Dr Simpson said: “The Armed Forces Day National Event is something our whole country should come together and support. With the 70th anniversary of D-Day, approaching it is enormously important to show our support for Britain’s forces and their vital role in protecting our values and freedom.

“The Stirling event is about the present and the future as well as the past. It gives us the chance to thank today’s personnel, who often face great danger in places like Afghanistan, for the remarkable work they do.”

SNP MSP for Stirling Bruce Crawford said: "Stirling has a long and distinguished relationship with the armed forces, and I am therefore delighted that the city will host Armed Forces Day National Event.

"It is particularly appropriate in the year we mark the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War, and recognise the sacrifices made by so many in that and subsequent conflicts. This excellent event will be one of the highlights of a wonderful year for Stirling, when we celebrate the city's history, culture and heritage."

Conservative MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife Murdo Fraser said: "This is both an honour and an opportunity for Stirling. It will be a superb event and I know that the organisers are working hard to make sure it is the huge success that we all hope it can be."

Liberal Democrats MSP Willie Rennie added: “There are hundreds of thousands of veterans and serving personnel across the UK who have served their country at home and abroad, keeping the peace and defending us in wartime. This event is a chance to honour not just them, but also their families.

“I fully intend to be there to show my support and urge others to do the same – it will be a great day for a great cause.”

Stirling’s Labour MP Anne McGuire believes the event is a way to show support to everyone in Stirling, Scotland and nationwide with links to the armed services.

She said: “Many people in Stirling have strong links to the UK’s Army, Navy and Air Force – as veterans, serving personnel or forces families. I’m really looking forward to the Armed Forces Day National Event as a chance to thank them, and their comrades from every part of the UK, for the incredible job they do on our behalf.”  

The ancient Royal Scottish city of Stirling welcomes the world for its biggest ever celebrations

Monday 7th April, 2014

The ancient royal Scottish city of Stirling is preparing to welcome the world for its biggest ever weekend of celebrations.

A centrepiece will be the Armed Forces Day National Event, on Saturday 28th June, which celebrates the work of all those linked to the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.

This includes large numbers of Scots, English, Welsh and Northern Irish veterans, and their families, from around the world – plus the many others who have been part of the UK’s armed services.

The weekend also sees Bannockburn Live, a major event that marks the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, and Pipefest in which thousands of pipers and drummers will march through the ancient city.

Stirling, with its majestic castle standing high upon a volcanic rock, was a favourite residence of medieval kings and queens. Later, it became home to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, an elite regiment of the British Army.

Stirling's Provost Mike Robbins said: “This is going to be the biggest weekend of cultural and historic celebrations our city has ever hosted and we're looking forward to welcoming visitors from all over the world to join us.

“Our city’s links with the British military stretch back for centuries and we are extremely proud to be hosting the UK Armed Forces Day National Event. It will be a particularly special occasion as 2014 is the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War and also the 70th anniversary of D-Day – the beginning of the liberation of Europe from the Nazis.

“We hope to see many veterans, and others, from overseas join us for a fabulous occasion that celebrates the British Armed Forces of the past, present and the future.”

He added: “With Bannockburn Live and Pipefest taking place at the same time, it will be a truly unmissable weekend.”

“The Stirling event is about the present and the future as well as the past. It gives us the chance to thank today’s personnel, who often face great danger in places like Afghanistan, for the remarkable work they do.”



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Military History

The Queen is presented with flowers parade at Stirling Castle

For centuries Stirling has had a close relationship with the Armed Forces which protect the United Kingdom.

The Castle, and the royal parklands beneath, have been the focus for the military many times – as places of celebration, commemoration and as training centres.

2014 will see this tradition continue as Stirling hosts the Armed Forces Day National Event, which will be the city’s biggest ever celebration of its kind, involving tens of thousands of serving personnel, veterans and civilians.

Stirling will welcome royalty, political leaders, marching bands and soldiers for AFDNE. Among them will be veterans of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, a regiment closely linked to Stirling. Many will take part in the large parade that will wind down from the Castle's Esplanade to the main event ground.

It was in the royal parklands that one of their own predecessor units, the 98th Argyllshire Highlanders (renumbered the 91st), was raised in 1794. This impressive occasion was depicted in a colour drawing that can still be seen in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders museum at the castle.

Much has changed since the kilted and red jacketed 98th assembled with their muskets, swords, pipes and drums. On June 28 there will be displays by jet fighters and helicopters, and camouflaged infantry will brandish automatic rifles.

Some things have echoes of the past. For example, in 1855 Lord Melville conducted a large review of troops on the royal parklands. The reason? A commemoration of our great victories in the Crimea.

In recent decades the Esplanade has often been the main location for military events as the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders had their HQ and training depot inside the castle.

During the First World War the royal parklands were pressed into service as training camps. In 2010 archaeologists uncovered zig-zag trenches where young men were prepared for the battlegrounds of France.

It was also there that in 1916 43 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps was formed. At first an army reconnaissance unit, it was then equipped with Sopwith Camels in 1917 used to attack German ground forces. The squadron had a lengthy existence and went on to be based at RAF Leuchars. It was awarded the Freedom of the City of Stirling in 2005 but was disbanded in 2009.

Its successors will, though, be very much in evidence for AFDNE, when there will be displays and flypasts.

Haste ye back!


Haste ye back

Stirling Castle

Haste ye back to Stirling - Standing at the mouth of the great River Forth, guarding the border between the Highlands and Lowlands, Stirling has always been the very heart of Scotland.

Its castle was a favourite residence of Scotland’s kings where they held court, feasted, hunted and witnessed spectacular tournaments. The plains either side of the river were also the sites of some of the most important battles for control of the kingdom, like Stirling Bridge in 1297 and Bannockburn in 1314.

Nowadays Stirling is a wonderful place to enjoy history, culture, countryside, adventure activities and much more. Having sampled all that it has to offer during June’s big weekend of entertainment – the Armed Forces National Day Event, Bannockburn Live and Pipefest – you'll be sure to return again and again.

Among our most celebrated attractions are:

Stirling Castle: One of the top visitor experiences in Europe, this magnificent castle is one of the most important places in Scottish history. Childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots and of James VI and I, it was a place of majesty. Today you can experience the refurbished 16th century royal palace of James V and Marie de Guise, see the Great Hall, Chapel Royal, walk the ramparts and enjoy the state-of-the-art visitor centre. The Castle also holds regular events and activities.

The Battle of Bannockburn visitor centre:



Bannockburn Heritage Centre Bannockburn Heritage Centre

Seven hundred years after the battle, experience medieval combat like never before. The visitor centre’s cutting edge 3D technology puts you right at the heart of the action as you stand face-to-face with lifesize medieval warriors. Collect tips from the characters you'll meet in the Prepare for Battle area and then put them to use in the Battleroom, where you'll lead your own troops and pit your wits against fellow visitors on the virtual battlefield.  After the battlegame, we'll show you what happened in 1314 and uncover how Robert the Bruce led his troops to victory over Edward II.

The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum: Located inside the castle, this museum tells the 200-year story of one of the British Army’s elite regiments. The castle was the regimental headquarters and the museum tells its story through the experiences of its soldiers, NCOs and officers. It’s a chance to discover tales of courage and commitment from the Boer War, both world wars and beyond.

The National Wallace Monument: Reopening after a major refurbishment, the National Wallace Monument towers above the city and the battlefield where William Wallace one his great victory of 1297. Visitors can discover the story of Scotland’s Braveheart as part of a great day out.

Whatever you enjoy – Stirling is the place

For shopping, walking, dining out, sports, art, entertainment, events and festivals Stirling is the perfect place to visit. A few more examples of what we have to offer include:

Find out more at the Visit Stirling Website and by looking at all that’s taking place for Stirling 2014. For yet more information about the city and its surrounding area see the Visit Stirling Website

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