Everything you need to know about today’s D-Day anniversary flypast in Sheffield
This is everything you need to know about the flypast that will take place in Sheffield today to honour the brave Normandy veterans who liberated Europe, as the city marks the campaign’s 75th anniversary.
World leaders attended ceremonies last week to honour Allied forces who fought in the largest combined land, air and and naval operation in history.
Hundreds of veterans gathered in France to pay their respects while the Normandy Veterans Sheffield Branch held a ceremony at the Weston Park memorial.
The branch, supported by Sheffield City Council, will now hold a commemoration event and Battle of Britain Memorial Flypast at Norfolk Heritage Park this afternoon.
Graham Askham, secretary of the Sheffield Normandy Veterans Association, said: “This will be the last time the people of Sheffield get the opportunity to say a proper thank you to these very special men, who gave us the freedom we enjoy today.
“The veterans are all in their 90s now and some are very frail but they're determined to be there for what is sure to be a special day.”
The commemoration and flypast has been timed a week after the anniversary to allow veterans from across the North of England to attend, who had travelled to Normandy on the actual anniversary last week.
A military band will start event proceedings at 11.00am, followed by a commemorative parade and a Drumhead service at 12.15pm.
During the Drumhead Service wreaths will be laid by The Right Worshipful Lord Mayor of Sheffield Councillor Tony Downing, HM Lord-Lieutenant Andrew Coombe, Major General Neil Sexton, Chairman of Normandy Veterans Sheffield Branch Gordon Drabble LH and Branch Secretary Graham Askham.
After the service at 1.30pm the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster Bomber will fly over the park and will circle Sheffield city centre. Acknowledgements and thanks will close the event by 2pm.
Timings in full:
- 11.00am – start with Military Band
- 12.15pm – Commemorative Parade and Drumhead Service
- 1.30pm Battle of Britain – Lancaster Flyover
- 2pm – thanks and close
Who will be there?
The Lord Mayor of Sheffield Councillor Downing will be joined by Councillor Julie Dore Leader of Sheffield City Council, Councillor Lea, Sheffield’s Military Champion Councillor Tony Damms and Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety Councillor Paul Wood.
Representatives based in the UK from Canada, France, Poland and America will be in attendance, plus Normandy Veterans from as far afield as Hull and Liverpool.
Where will it happen?
The service takes place in Norfolk Heritage Park, Sheffield – at the top of the hill by Centre in the Park
The event is open to everyone and free to attend.
Normal entrances and exits in and out of Norfolk Heritage Park will be open.
People are advised not to bring wreaths to the event, as the actual D-Day memorial is in Weston Park.
Plan your journey
Norfolk Park car park will be reserved for travelling veterans, service personnel and invited guests.
Parking around the park will not be available.
People are advised to plan journeys in advance, allowing plenty of time and to travel by public transport or on foot where possible. Several bus routes and Stagecoach Supertram pass closely to the park.
Those attending Norfolk Heritage Park on the day for other reasons should be aware that it will be very busy and access may be more difficult.
Why has the event been moved?
The free event was originally due to take place at Weston Park in the city centre but has been moved on the advice of Sheffield Council.
There were concerns that the crowds that were expected to attend the event could have caused gridlock on surrounding roads and made it hard for patients and staff to get to the nearby Royal Hallamshire and Sheffield Children’s hospitals.
A smaller dedication ceremony will now take place at Weston Park, where a new memorial stone and bench honouring Normandy veterans will be unveiled alongside the existing memorial tree on a separate date.Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet Member for Culture, parks and leisure at Sheffield City Council said: “It was an honour to stand side-by-side at the ceremony with Sheffield’s Normandy Veterans on the 75th Anniversary last week.
“We have been working with the Sheffield veterans, not only to create a lasting memorial in Weston Park but to hold the main Drumhead service and flypast in Norfolk Park. The veterans were keen to invite their comrades from across the North of England to join in this special moment and it is our privilege to support them as we all come together to remember those who fought for our peace and freedom.”