Mayor and London Assembly pay tribute to British Armed Forces
The Mayor of London and the London Assembly will today join members of the British Armed Forces, as well as veterans, reserves, cadets and representatives from military charities, for a flag-raising ceremony at City Hall honouring the courage and commitment of the Armed Forces and their communities.
Ahead of next Saturday’s National Armed Forces Day, the Mayor will also sign an updated Armed Forces Covenant committing to supporting the Armed Forces community right across the capital. The Covenant was last signed by the previous Mayor in 2012 and has been updated following consultation with the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces community to include measures around housing, welfare and collecting data on veterans sleeping rough. The Covenant also names London Assembly Member Len Duval as an informal Armed Forces champion, who will chair a series of stakeholder roundtables on behalf of the Mayor.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and Chair of the London Assembly, Jennette Arnold OBE AM, will join guests including senior military figures for the ceremony, featuring musical contributions from the Scots Guards Parade.
Royal Navy Commodore David Elford OBE ADC RN, Army Major General Ben Bathurst CBE and Air Commodore Ian Tolfts OBE from the Royal Air Force will offer a joint military response.
The Armed Forces flag will be raised by Cadet Sgt Harjot Virdi and Cadet Oscar Sanfilipoo.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I am proud to welcome representatives from our Armed Forces to City Hall today to acknowledge their tireless bravery and dedication to keeping us safe.
“We are also remembering the families, charities, reservists and cadets who support our military throughout their careers and beyond, and the important role that they play in the tight-knit Armed Forces community.
“I am committed to doing everything I can to support the Armed Forces, which is why I am delighted to be signing an updated Covenant reflecting the work that we are already doing – and pledging to undertake – from City Hall.”
Chair of the London Assembly, Jennette Arnold OBE, said: “Today we have recommitted our support, by signing an updated Armed Forces Covenant.
“The key principles of the Armed Forces Covenant seem so simple but we are proud and honoured to write them down – our signatures are our bond.
“Just a couple of weeks ago we commemorated the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. The moving scenes reminded us of the sacrifice that our Armed Forces make, not just in what may seem like the dim and distant past, but also in the here and now.
“Around the world today our armed forces are promoting peace and security, fighting terrorism and delivering aid. We will always be grateful their protection.”
London Assembly Member Len Duval said: “The Armed Forces community wanted an armed forces champion at City Hall. With immense respect for the sacrifices made by those who have served our country, I am honoured to take up this role.
“I have already chaired a meeting, on behalf of the Mayor, with organisations including Blind Veterans UK, British Legion, Confederation of Service Charities, London Veterans’ Service, NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Service, Poppy Factory, Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, London VAPC, MOD, RFCA and Stoll.
“I am really looking forward to working with those across the Armed Forces Community to ensure we honour our commitments in the Armed Forces Covenant, such as maintaining free travel across London’s transport network, supporting sustainable accommodation and providing vital employment support for veterans.”
Notes to editors
- Armed Forces Day is an annual opportunity to raise awareness of the contribution made by those who serve and have served in Her Majesty's Armed Forces. The national event will take place in Salisbury, Wiltshire on Saturday 29th June with other events being held across the country throughout the week. Visit www.armedforcesday.org.uk for more information.
- The full text of the Armed Forces Covenant is available on request.