The gratitude owed by North Yorkshire to the service men and women based in the county was acknowledged at a reception held in their honour ahead of Armed Forces Day on 29 June.
In North Yorkshire, more than 12,000 people work for the Ministry of Defence (about 4 per cent of all jobs in the county), and more than 3,000 children in the county’s schools are from service families (about 5 per cent of all school children).
“The armed forces community in North Yorkshire has a substantial positive impact on the county,” said North Yorkshire County Council chairman Cllr Jim Clark, as he welcomed guests to a reception at County Hall, Northallerton. “Too often, the scale and positive nature of this impact is underappreciated.”
The reception was attended by representatives of armed forces bases across the county, County Council staff who also serve as reservists with the Army and RAF, families from the armed forces community and representatives of the county’s Military Kids Clubs, a national peer support group.
An Armed Forces Day for Children event was also held last week when 900 children from service families and their friends gathered at Catterick Garrison for a taste of military life, with a fly-past, a chance to explore military vehicles, sample military rations and enjoy other activities.
“The County Council is proud of North Yorkshire’s military connections and the armed forces communities living here, including serving personnel, reservists, veterans and family members,” said Cllr Clark. “We work hard to ensure our services meet the needs of all local people, including all members of the armed forces community, past and present, and their families.”
The authority supports the Military Covenant, which aims to ensure that all those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly in the provision of public services. The County Council also employs service pupil champions who support children of military personnel in school, raise awareness of their needs and act as a link between schools, families and the military.
Cllr Clark said: “We want to encourage all communities in the county to have a greater understanding of the armed forces community, and for there to be real integration and mutual respect. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the men and women who are prepared to put their lives on the line in defence of our country, and to their families who support them.”