Royal Navy veterans’ parade relocates to Bridlington

The veterans line up at St Martins Church, Scarborough, for their final parade before moving to Bridlington.
The veterans line up at St Martins Church, Scarborough, for their final parade before moving to Bridlington.

A PARADE of Royal Navy veterans will begin holding its annual event in Bridlington from next September.

Following a forced relocation from its traditional venue of the Spa Scarborough due to a rise in the cost of venue hire, the 8th Destroyers Squadron were offered the use of the Spa Bridlington free of charge.

A four-year deal was arranged by East Yorkshire Events to take place at the Spa, and the 200-strong parade will break with 22-years of tradition and visit Bridlington from Friday 6 September 2013 until Sunday 8 September.

The parade, which has enjoyed popularity amongst Scarborough residents and holiday-makers, involves Royal Navy men whose 18 destroyers protected British interests in the Far East from 1945-1963.

Peter Lee-Hale, squadron association chairman, said: “It is all very much in the air at the moment. We decided to leave Scarborough after 22-years with the rising costs which we can no longer afford, there was no alternative.”

He said the fee at Scarborough of £1,000 would increase each year for the use of the Spa facilities, and it would have become necessary for a levy to be passed on those attending the reunion.

“Bridlington Spa offered their services and we chose that after being contacted by them,” Mr Lee-Hale continued.

He said: “I have known the conference director for a number of years and he got in touch with me and offered the Spa which we put to our members in a ballot as to whether they wanted to stay and pay the levy or go further south.

“I think they will be looking forward to it, however there is a lot to organise.”

Mr Lee-Hale, along with vice chairman of the squadron association, Eddie Guest, were given a tour around the Spa to view its facilities.

“We were both impressed. It is a couple of years since I have been and the refurbished building is a thousand per cent better,” said Mr Lee-Hale.

He told the Free Press he has visited Bridlington Spa before on a number of occasions with another veteran group to commemorate HMS Concord, which had been involved in the rescue operation of HMS Amethyst following an attack by the People’s Liberation Army in China during 1949.

Kieran Lawry, conference and events officer at EY Events, said: “The benefit for us is the business that it brings to the town. It is a great event to support the town, with hoteliers and guest houses.

“We are in a recession so the more business we can bring in the better and we are working hard to bring a number of events in. I think we are one of the most successful event groups in the country.

“There is a lot of respect for the organisation for what they have achieved in the past.”

The squadron association will meet in November to discuss plans for the parade, including the location for the march.

The three-day event will include a social event on the Friday evening, followed by the AGM on Saturday afternoon and a dance in the evening.

On Sunday there will be a memorial service held in a local church, followed by the march.