FORMER soldier Mike Buss has big plans for this year’s Swindon Armed Forces Day and hopes thousands of people will support it.
Mike, who served with the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Green Jackets, met with the town’s military organisations and charities at MP Robert Buckland’s Milton Road office yesterday, to discuss the family fun day which will be held in Faringdon Park Road between 10am and 4pm on Saturday, June 28.
The event will feature children’s rides, displays and a raffle, with proceeds being shared between Swindon’s Royal British Legion branch, The Rifles Care for Casualties and Brews And Wets, which support servicemen with mental health conditions.
Personal trainer Mike took over organising Swindon Armed Forces Day in December and hopes the significance of this year being the First World War’s 100th anniversary will draw a big crowd. He said: “I want to have that park filled so if somebody is interested in being part of it I’ll be rolling out the red carpet to welcome them. We’ve held Armed Forces Day at Wharf Green over the last couple of years and I think it has lost its buzz a little.
“We want it to be a huge success as we are commemorating 100 years since the war and 70 years since D-Day.”
After the fun day, a charity dinner and auction will take place at Blunsdon House Hotel at 7pm. Mike said he is looking to find a military guest speaker who has a connection to Swindon.
Commemorations will start on the evening of Friday, June 27 with the final of the event’s Sweetheart Beauty Pageant taking place at Bushwackers nightclub. The new competition is seeking a Swindon woman who is passionate about the armed forces.
Mike said: “Anyone interested in entering the pageant is asked to send in a photograph and a short sentence about why they should take the crown. It isn’t about looks, it is about finding a woman who has overwhelming support for our troops.
“We’ll put the entries down to a shortlist of 12 and put them to the public vote at Bushwackers. We are going to make a 2015 calendar of all the finalists and donate the proceeds to our Royal British Legion.”
The weekend will come to an end with a charity abseil off The Jurys Inn, Fleming Way, in aid of the Rifles Care for Casualties, running between 10am and 6pm on Sunday, June 29.
Alan Baker, Swindon Royal British Legion chairman, said: “I’m really pleased with today’s meeting, we’ve had good representation from a lot of the town’s groups and the progress we’ve made is very fruitful.”
For more information or to enter the beauty pageant call Mike on 07791 356482 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.