PROUDLY waving their flags, children marched through Wickham to show their support for Armed Forces Day.
Around 170 pupils from Wickham Church of England Primary School paraded through the village square yesterday to celebrate the event, officially marked today.
They were joined by representatives from the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force.
There were also veterans from the Royal British Legion who explained to the children about the role that they play in the community.
Maria Ackland, headteacher at the school, said: ‘We are celebrating and thanking these people.
‘This is an educational experience for the children.
‘It’s nice that we have got all three services represented here today.
‘It’s a celebration for the people of Wickham. We see ourselves as being very much in the centre of the community.
‘It’s so important for the young children to understand what the armed forces do for our country.
‘They are so excited, particularly by the bagpipes. They have hugely enjoyed it.’
After raising four flags at a special ceremony in the village square, the children marched back to school to the sound of bagpipes.
Pupils asked questions and listened to talks about the work of the military.
And afterwards, they were given the opportunity to play the bagpipes.
Pupil Henry Agnew, 11, said: ‘It was really interesting because I want to go into the forces when I’m older.
‘It’s just interesting. It’s more exciting than any other job you can do.’
WO2 Bob Crozier, 44, based at HMS Sultan, said: ‘It’s fantastic. It’s amazing that they have started to commemorate Armed Forces Day.
‘With Help For Heroes we have been given more publicity and more support from the public.
‘The kids love it. Half of them will end up joining up, no doubt.
‘They just hear the bad bits on the news, but this gives them the chance to realise what we do and that we are just normal people.’
Michael Hollis, secretary of the Wickham Society, who organised the event, added: ‘It’s the first time we have done this.
‘It was pretty successful.’
Celebrations will continue over the weekend with a police band concert today and a flag raising ceremony which will take place tomorrow.