Armed Forces Day hailed as a success – despite the rain

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A bit of rain was never going to deter the veterans from marching proudly along Argyll Street – these men and women are made of sterner stuff.

It was pouring as Loch Fyne Pipe Band led the parade to kick off Lochgilphead Armed Forces Day 2018. Joining the veterans were Her Majesty’s Coastguard personnel, RAF cadets, sea cadets and a sizeable contingent of army cadets from all over Argyll.

As the massed ranks formed up along Poltalloch Street – closed to traffic for the occasion – Vice Lord Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute, Jane MacLeod, inspected the parade accompanied by Sergeant Major Danny Hamilton of 7 SCOTS.

Mrs MacLeod accepted the salute as dignitaries looked on, including Argyll and Bute MP Brendan O’Hara, Provost Len Scoullar, Argyll and Bute Council chief executive Cleland Sneddon and a number of council members.

Attention turned to activities on the front green after the parade was dismissed, and though dampness continued on and off throughout the morning a good crowd of people came along to enjoy the day.

The purpose of Lochgilphead Armed Forces Day is to show support for the armed forces past, present and future, raise money for forces-related charities, and to have fun doing it.

And there was plenty of fun to be found.

Whether testing shooting skills assisted by 7 SCOTS troops, or at the nearby Mid Argyll Shooting Club stand; recreating Dambusters skills with the air cadets; or having a go in the MACPool’s pedalo-style boats for children, there was something for all the family.

Tea, coffee and snacks were on hand to keep up energy levels and drive out damp, prepared and served by Lochgilphead’s own Grub’s Up recovery cafe.

Then, as comrades and pals met to share a dram and a yarn or two, the skies cleared and welcome afternoon sunshine bathed the green.

Councillor Donnie MacMillan showed admirable stamina as he drew the winning tickets in an epic raffle to round off the afternoon in style, with 45 excellent prizes up for grabs.

Lochgilphead Armed Forces Day chairman Geordie Rhodick was delighted with the day and told the Argyllshire Advertiser: ‘It was really an excellent event. Thanks to all the volunteers, all of whom went above and beyond to make the day a success.’

He added: ‘I also want to thank Grub’s Up, who provided the hospitality, and all the retailers and individuals who helped with raffle prizes.’