We reported in May about plans to celebrate 100 years of the RAF by awarding the RAF in Wales the Freedom of the County Borough.
Since then work has been going on behind the scenes to bring together an event in the town centre for everyone to enjoy and even the organisers are surprised at just how much will be going on!
The Freedom of the County Borough will be awarded on Wednesday 22 August at a full meeting of the Council. The public celebrations all begin on the Thursday August 23 when an RAF Centenary memorial plaque is unveiled at the RAF memorial garden in Queen’s Square. This will also be marked by a flyover by a Hercules aircraft at 12.00 noon.
The main celebration takes place on the August 25 when the town centre is taken over by free events and entertainment that will appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds.
The RAF Freedom event celebration itself will take place on Llwyn Isaf and promises to be an extra special affair with an RAF static aircraft taking centre stage on the green surrounded by catering and refreshment facilities, armed forces stalls, a flight simulator, a Spitfire instrument panel, all available to keep everyone amused accompanied by music from the bandstand. A real spectacle for the crowds will be an RAF Muster” by RAF personnel, together with local Air Cadet Squadrons and veterans and the salute will be taken by the Mayor of Wrexham, Cllr Andy Williams. The RAF Muster ceremony will start at 2.25 pm and the highlight of the afternoon will be a flyover by a RAF Dakota at approximately 3.17pm.
“Street Festival joins in with a vintage theme for RAF Celebrations”
At the same time as the Freedom celebrations over on Queen’s Square and surrounding streets there will be lots of fun going on as the August Street Festival takes place. Organisers have worked together to make sure this month it will be complementing the RAF Freedom event with a vintage theme for the whole family to enjoy – there’ll be the usual stalls, entertainers, attractions and of course lots of independent shops and markets to browse through.
“And there’s more….”
There’s also special commemorative exhibitions taking place – one at Techniquest which will be open from Thursday August 23 to show a special RAF Historical Exhibition. This exhibition has been produced by RAF historians and will give displays about the history of the RAF Station that used to be in Wrexham in both World War 1 and 2.
It will also have displays about people from Wrexham who have served in the RAF with distinction – this includes fighter aces from World War 11, Flight Lieutenant David Lord, who was posthumously awarded a Victoria Cross while flying over Arnhem in 1944, together with others from Wrexham who were important in other famous wartime events, ranging from the Great Escape to the famous RAF raid in 1943 on the top secret German rocket base at Peenumunde.
As part of the RAF Historical Exhibition, the RAF will also be bringing colleagues from the National Archives who can help you find out more about relatives who may have served in the RAF over the last 100 years.
Techniquest will also be holding a number of science and technology interactive displays which will be great fun for the young ones – and even those a little older.
“Powerful photos at Tŷ Pawb”
Tŷ Pawb will also be joining in the party with a photographic exhibition called “Equipped for Life which documents in powerful images the struggles faced by forces personnel when they leave the service. There are some powerful images accompanied by some truly inspirational stories and a must for those of us who have never thought about what adjusting to a “normal life” must be like for those who have faced situations and been left with traumas and physical injuries as a result of the service. Tŷ Pawb will also be holding art workshops with a RAF theme.
“Something for everyone”
Armed Forces Champion, Cllr David Griffiths, said: “It is with great pride that we in Wrexham will mark the Freedom of the County Borough for the RAF in Wales and I know everyone will be supportive of the planned events. There’s something for everyone – veterans, serving forces, families, those interested in military history and of course those interested in the arts.
There’s so much going on and many individuals to thank for bringing these events together and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all for their tireless commitment to ensuring the RAF in Wales are suitably commemorated for their service during this last 100 years.
“Many have proudly served with the RAF”
Air Commodore Adrian Williams said “The RAF in Wales is very pleased to accept the Freedom of the County Borough. It is a huge honour and one which we will always appreciate. I would like to thank everyone involved and also the people of Wrexham, many of whom have joined our ranks throughout the years and proudly served with the RAF, who have been so supportive of this honour. I hope to meet many of you on the 25 August for this special celebration which promises to be a very memorable event.”
You can see more about the Equipped for Life exhibition hereAPPLY FOR A PUPIL DEVELOPMENT GRANT