The UK threat level of a ‘substantial’ risk of a terror attack has led to an increase in security costs at next month’s Armed Forces Day in Cornwall, the largest military activity outside London this year. Despite the financial increase, the event is forecast to bring in between £5.5m and £7m to the Cornish economy.
The event will see senior representation from the Royal Family and Government in Falmouth and typically attracts 100,000+ visitors from across the country. Cornwall Council’s successful application to host the 2023 event was spearheaded by Councillor Louis Gardner in his role as Cabinet Member for Economy and Cornwall Council’s lead member for Armed Forces.
Cornwall Council’s Conservative-run Cabinet this week endorsed the arrangements for the event, which will actually run over three days, from Friday, June 23 to Sunday, June 25 with other events from Monday, June 19 which marks the formal start of Armed Forces Week.
Outlining many of the plans for what will be the largest and most extensive programme for the Armed Forces that this country has ever seen, Cllr Gardner highlighted the increased security threat at the Cabinet meeting at New County Hall, Truro, today (Wednesday, May 10).
He said: “The UK threat level has increased significantly from when we won the bid to now, and we are currently at ‘substantial’. This means an attack is likely. This increase was due to wider national events completely unforeseen and out of our control, and as a result of that costs around security, medical care and the anti-terrorism measures have increased, now totalling £600,000.”
Cllr Gardner pointed out that much of that was offset by sponsorship input. “Sponsorship currently stands at £207,000 in cash plus £50,000 from the Ministry of Defence, plus sponsorship of goods and services provided to the event at a value of between £150,000 and £200,000, creating a total sponsorship support of the event of over £450,000 from national and Cornish businesses.”
He told fellow councillors that the “world-class” main event on Saturday, June 24, will feature over three hours of military flying including the Red Arrows, a Battle of Britain Memorial flight, aircraft from all three services and the RAF parachute display team. A Royal Naval warship will be open to visitors over all three days and there will be the largest collection of military vehicles ever seen in Cornwall. The event will culminate with a free evening concert for 2,500 people at Pendennis Castle.
Other events include Reserves Day on Wednesday, June 21 and an Armed Forces Community Conference at Falmouth University on Thursday, June 22, which will focus on health and wellbeing, including homelessness and mental health; a first for Armed Forces Week. Friday, June 23 will be a schools’ day with dedicated access to the Military Village and a range of educational activities to which schools and colleges across Cornwall have been invited.
A packed programme of activities is being developed, details of which will be published on Friday, May 12. Highlights will include a full military parade through the streets of Falmouth involving Armed Forces bands, regular and reserve personnel from all three services, cadets and veterans culminating in a salute with fly-past.
Armed Forces Day will be the biggest event staged in Cornwall since the G7 Summit and will once again put the county on a national stage and provide significant benefits to the local economy. Visit Cornwall has estimated an economic impact to Cornwall of between £5.5m and £7m.
Leader of the council Linda Taylor thanked Cllr Gardner for being the “driving force” for securing Armed Forces Day as a national event in Cornwall.