The streets of Alton were packed to welcome the Armed Forces Day Convoy to the town on June 24.
Previous convoys drove through the outskirts of Alton to places elsewhere, but this time Alton Town Council invited the organisers to stage their destination event at Anstey Park after the convoy passed The Butts and drove through High Street and Normandy Street.
The council said: “Alton Town Council were delighted to welcome back the commemorative convoy again this year. It was wonderful to see all the vehicles drive through the town, with local Altonians lining the streets, and finish up at Anstey Park. We would like to thank all the stall holders, entertainers and drivers for bringing this event to Alton for our community to enjoy.”
A convoy team spokesperson said: “We were overawed at the welcome when we arrived in Alton. From The Butts to Anstey Park, we were cheered, and people clapped and shouted ‘Thank you’.
“This has been the best convoy experience to date. The event was sponsored and supported by several local organisations and businesses. We could not have run the event without that support."
Altonian Bob Graham carried the Royal Hampshire Regimental Standard on an open-top jeep, a Princess Elizabeth lookalike rode in an original wartime ambulance of the type driven by the Princess towards the end of the Second World War, and retired Air Commodore Peter Grinstead rode at the front of the convoy in his role as patron.
There were more than 50 vehicles in the convoy – several of them and a vintage coach carried veterans – and more than 40 motorcycles ridden by members of ServWessex – the Blood Runners – and the Royal British Legion Riders Branch.
The convoy organisers would like to thank all the organisations and companies which helped them stage the event.
These are Alton Vehicle Hire, Alternative Packaging Solutions Ltd, Autosigns, Cala Homes Thames Region, DGCS Security, Everyone Active, Greene King, Swan Hotel, Newbury Building Society, Parish of the Resurrection for the pealing of bells at All Saints Church and a presentation there, Alton Cadet Units for their support in Anstey Park, and Alton Lions Club and Alton Rotary Club for their help in the town and at the park.
Planning began a year ago, with the necessary route surveys, traffic management plans and securing relevant permissions being the priorities. The volunteer organisers then applied themselves to the many and varied tasks necessary to create and deliver the convoy event, building on the experience of previous convoys.
The close co-operation between the council and the convoy organisers helped to ensure that on the day of the event the convoy and the programme in Anstey Park came together as planned.
The convoy team spokesperson added: “This was very much about the community coming together before and on the day to help us all thank our veterans, our serving personnel, and to salute the Fallen. Thank you, Alton.”