An appearance by one of the Army’s most impressive battle tanks is set to make Armed Forces Day an event to remember in Coleraine.
The Challenger 2, which is rarely seen by the public here, will be on display in Christie Park when the celebration of military life comes to the town on Saturday 23rd June.
As the force’s main battle tank, it weighs over 62 tonne and spans over 44 feet when its gun is extended.
Visitors can also look forward to getting up close with a Gazelle helicopter while the Royal Navy is bringing its P2000 patrol vessel to the River Bann.
Thousands of people are expected to descend on Coleraine for the regional showcase, which celebrates the ongoing commitment of troops, their families, veterans and cadets. A park & ride facility will be available at Rugby Avenue from 8am – 9.30pm and further details about traffic and travel arrangements will be made available nearer the time.
A spokesperson for Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council said: “We are working closely with our partners in the Ministry of Defence to create a spectacular event for everyone to enjoy. The Challenger Tank showcase will provide an unforgetable sight and it is a real privilege for us to welcome it to Coleraine.”
The event will be compered by well-known media personality Paul Clark who will be on hand to guide visitors through the planned programme of events. This includes the event’s opening parade which will see hundreds of service personnel and veterans pass through the town before a Drumhead Service in the Diamond.
A gun salute will signal the start of a packed programme of family-friendly attractions and live music in Christie Park and throughout the town from 12-30pm-5pm. A water based showcase on the River Bann will feature exciting world class demonstrations of wakeboarding, barefoot water skiing and freestyle jet skiing.
The event will come to a close in spectacular style as the world renowned Band of the Royal Marines will parade through the town before leading the Beating of the Retreat.
And the entertainment doesn’t end there because from 5pm, the Diamond area will be transformed into a live music and dance venue with the return of Rhythm of the Bann.
Held for the first time last year, it promises an evening of superb FREE entertainment including an unmissable performance by the world renowned Royal Marines band.
Keep up to date with the latest announcements about Armed Forces Day and Rhythm of the Bann by following us on Facebook and Twitter @CausewayCouncil and @EventsCwayCoast