Dumfries and Galloway Council will receive the Dumfries and Galloway Council Armed Forces Champion Annual Report at its meeting on 14 December. The report provides elected members with an overview of the activities undertaken by the Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Archie Dryburgh MBE, from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023.
In another active year for the council’s Armed Forces Champion, a highlight was the parade and ceremony held in June 2022 to mark the 100th Anniversary since the unveiling of the Maxwelltown War Memorial.
Armed Forces Week was marked by flag raising and lowering ceremonies held in Annan, Dumfries, Castle Douglas, Sanquhar and Stranraer. An Armed Forces Day Parade took place in Dumfries Town Centre on Saturday 25 June 2022, led by representatives of our retired and serving Armed Forces personnel and by members of our local Cadet Units.
The fiftieth anniversary of the Lord Dowding Memorial Service was marked on Sunday 4 September 2022, where the programme included a wreath laying by Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Armed Forces Champion, and a fly-past by a Spitfire and Hurricane of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight RAF Coningsby.
In November 2022, Armistice and Remembrance activities took place across the region. A Festival of Remembrance was held in the Crichton Church, Dumfries, on Saturday 4 November 2022 where the Armed Forces Champion was Master of Ceremonies. Wreath laying ceremonies took place at War Memorials and in Faith venues across Dumfries and Galloway, giving the opportunity to remember the service and sacrifice of all those who have defended our freedoms and protected our way of life. Ukrainian Guests from the Welcome Hubs in Stranraer, Castle Douglas and Dumfries also laid wreaths for their armed forces.
In addition to these events and activities, the Armed Forces Champion acts as a contact point for individuals and groups of Armed Forces personnel and veterans seeking support and information including access to health services, housing and Benefits. The position acts as liaison with Legion Scotland nationally and at a local level, Poppy Scotland, our three Lord Lieutenants, Community Councils, Faith Groups as well as other partner organisations and community groups.
The Armed Forces Champion also attends meetings of the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on the Armed Forces and Veterans Community, and local authority Armed Forces Champions from across Scotland.
Councillor Malcolm Johnstone, Convenor of Dumfries and Galloway Council said: “Our council is committed to supporting our Armed Forces personnel, veterans, and Armed Forces community. I am delighted that this report reflects the volume of work undertaken and the difference it makes to those in the Armed Forces community.”
Councillor Gail Macgregor, Depute Convenor, added: “There is a wealth of activity celebrated in this report. I am delighted to see the volume of ongoing and future activities that are outlined, with funding committed over the next four years from a dedicated budget.”
The annual report of the Council’s Armed Forces Champion can be seen at: https://dumfriesgalloway.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=137&MId=5806