Worthing Combined Ex-Services Association (CESA) holds its annual Drumhead Service on West Sussex Armed Forces Day – Sunday June 30th. CESA has held a drumhead service for 19 years.
In 2005, when Worthing Borough Council wanted to put on a weekend event for VE/VJ Day the drumhead service was incorporated into the weekend.
It was so successful that Janet Goldsbrough-Jones, event organizer for CESA was asked to do it again and now it gets bigger every year. When the government decreed June 27th Veterans Day (later amended to Armed Forces Day) the weekend moved back a week to coincide. Following discussions with the Ministry of Defence it was renamed as the West Sussex event to include more people. 2013 will be the 9th Janet has organised including VE/VJ weekend.
Saturday is just fun, with the underlying message that we should and do appreciate our Armed Forces, past, present and future. With stalls, stage entertainments and displays, military vehicles and the famous ‘NAAFI’ it is a perfect family day out. CESA even get Ricardo’s military vehicles displayed, something no-one else gets.
Sunday sees the spectacular Drumhead service, with drums supplied by our local Air Cadets, over 30 standard bearers, watched by the Lord Lieutenant, High Sheriff, Mayors and Chairmen from all over West Sussex and beyond, and many local dignitaries.
Janet Goldsbrough-Jones said: “It is very hard work putting on a major event like this, but it is oh so worth it. It does seem to get better every year. It is our way of saying thank you to our troops.
“Many of the veterans who come, and who proudly march to their seats, served in WWII as well as conflicts since.
“In my time in the Army I was just a pen-pusher and spent much of my time on parade in London, but I am proud to wear my veterans badge.”
Everyone is welcome and there is usually some spare seating at the rear. If it rains the service is held in the Cornerstone Church with invited guests and veterans only due to space restrictions.