Armed Forces Day celebrations

Communities across the UK will make a show of support for servicemen and women today as the country celebrates Armed Forces Day.

Live updates

First Minister of Wales: Today is about saying thank you to Armed Forces

Today is about saying thank you to the members of the Armed Forces for the work they do in our name. Armed Forces Day is an opportunity for all of us to show our appreciation and to recognise the professionalism, commitment and sacrifice our servicemen and women endure.

The Welsh Government is doing all it can to support the armed forces community here in Wales by working to ensure that serving personnel, their families and veterans can access services which meet their specific needs.

– The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones

David Cameron: 'This is about celebrating the enormous contribution the Armed Forces make'

Prime Minister David Cameron has attended an event in Plymouth to celebrate the Armed Forces.

He was asked what he thought the event meant for the servicemen and woman and said:

"This is about actually celebrating the enormous contribution the Armed Forces make every day of the year."

He added: "As prime minister it's a huge pleasure and a privilege to be involved in this coming together."

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Thousands gather at Armed Forces Day parade in Plymouth

Thousands of people including Prime Minister David Cameron lined the streets of Plymouth today to cheer on the nation's Armed Forces.

Music from Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force bands filled the air as more than 1,200 servicemen and women, veterans and cadets marched through the Devon city towards Plymouth Hoe.

The day is marked to raise awareness of the contribution made by the Army, Navy and RAF.

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Defence Secretary: 'The day is a simple way of saying thank you to the Armed Forces'

The Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has paid tribute to servicemen and women on Armed Forces Day

He said:

"On Armed Forces Day the community of serving personnel, reservists, cadets and veterans and their families are at the forefront of our thoughts.

"The day is a simple way of saying thank you to the Armed Forces for all they do for the country, whether that is on home soil or whether that is on frontline operations in Afghanistan.

"Our Armed Forces make many sacrifices for their country and showing our support for them on this day demonstrates the high esteem in which we hold the Armed Forces and all their endeavours.

"I would urge everyone who can attend an event to do so, to demonstrate the high regard in which the Armed Forces is held."

– Defence Secretary Philip Hammond

Deputy Prime Minister: 'thank you' to Armed Forces

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "Today I'm joining the rest of the country in saying thank you to our armed forces.

"We owe our servicemen and women a huge debt of gratitude for their dedication, resilience and sacrifices.

Nick Clegg speaks to soldiers at a training facility in Camp Bastion while on a visit to troops serving in Afghanistan. Credit: Andrew Winning/PA Archive/Press Association Images

"For their incredible work, for putting their lives at risk so we can live in safety, for being prepared to leave their loved ones behind when they serve our country, from cooks, to medics, to volunteers, to troops on the front line in Afghanistan - every single contribution deserves recognition.

"As do those of our reservists, veterans and cadets."

Mr Clegg said the celebrations should "go some way to showing how grateful we are for the work of all our armed forces and how much we recognise their contribution".

"I also want to thank their families - who are parted from their loved ones for long periods of time, who live with uncertainty, and whose patience and bravery is recognised by us all."

Increase in charity donations for Armed Forces

The Armed Forces celebration comes as military charities report a 26% increase in donations since the beginning of the economic crisis in 2008.

Help for Heroes saw a 181% gain in income, while Support Our Soldiers, which sends care parcels to the frontline, saw an 87% increase, according to The Sun.

A national event will be held in Plymouth, where there will be a parade through the city by members of all three services, joined by military bands and veterans.

The parade will finish on the Plymouth Hoe with a drumhead service, although entertainment will continue throughout the day.

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