Wrexham’s RAF Centenary celebrations got underway this morning, with the official launch of a commemorative garden in the town centre and the flyover of a military plane.
Spectators gathered on Queens Square shortly before 11:30am this morning to watch the proceedings – with RAF veterans and cadets also in in attendance
Addressing the crowds at the service Mayor Andy Williams said it was a “rare privilege” to grant Freedom of the Borough, something that has only happened locally four times.
Speaking this morning, Cllr Williams said: “As mayor it was a great honour and a privilege to propose last night at council meeting that the RAF Wales is allowed the Freedom of the Borough.
“It is appropriate we award such an honour in 2018 to the Royal Air Force as it celebrates its centenary.
“There is a lot going on in the town centre to celebrate RAF100 over the next few days.
“I am sure you will agree the RAF Garden with its newly installed plaques look very impressive and will be a welcome addition to this popular part of the town centre.
“On behalf of the council I welcome my warmest congratulations to RAF Wales in being awarded the Freedom of the County Borough. I am very pleased we have a permanent tribute in the town to the RAF in Wrexham.”
Air Commodore Adrian Williams, added: “It was a great honour for us yesterday to receive the Freedom of Honour for the county borough of Wrexham.
“As the mayor explained it is a very special privilege and the RAF feel very grateful for that honour, particularly as it comes in the RAF Centenary year.”
This morning’s service was the amongst of several commemorative events taking place over the next three days to mark the RAF Centenary in Wrexham.
Yesterday saw the official launch of an RAF themed exhibition at Techniquest Glyndwr at its pop-up space in the former TJ Hughes building.
Along with a number of activities for children and families, the exhibition highlights Wrexham’s links with the RAF.
On Friday a “powerful photographic exhibition” exploring how military personnel feel when they leave the forces and return to civilian life.
The exhibition by photographer Ceridwen Hughes, is based on two years of academic research by Dr Nikki Lloyd-Jones of Wrexham Glyndwr University. The collaboration, which was funded by Forces in Mind Trust, highlights findings from the report ‘Leaving the Armed Forces and living as a civilian’ and reveals the importance of identity for those who transition from the Armed Forces into civilian life.
The images were designed and created after conversations with the ex-Service people and refer to their former and current lives. The aim of the exhibition is to encourage people to want to know more about the experiences of those portrayed. Every image is supported by a written narrative and video interviews.
The celebrations will conclude on Saturday with a huge town centre public event to commemorate both the RAF100 and the Freedom of the Borough.
During the day there will be a street festival with vintage theme, RAF equipment and flight simulator for the public to take a look at, entertainment and stalls.
At 2:30pm RAF personnel, cadets and veterans will take part in a short service and an RAF muster – with the highlight of the afternoon set to be a flyover by the RAF Dakota at around 3:18pm.
You can view Wrexham Council’s short video of this morning’s proceedings below: