Ilkeston soldier to launch forces day

16 Regiment Royal Artillery (TA) (16 Regt RA (V)), based at Bulwell in Nottingham, practice for firing on Armed Forces Day, 29 June

16 Regiment Royal Artillery (TA) (16 Regt RA (V)), based at Bulwell in Nottingham, practice for firing on Armed Forces Day, 29 June

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A proud Ilkeston soldier has been given the honour of representing all the armed forces as he launches National Armed Forces Day this weekend.

The eyes of the nation will be on Gunner Jake Weston, 20, who is one of 16 volunteer soldiers who will start the celebrations with a roar of gun fire from Nottingham Castle on Saturday.

Jake, who has been in the TA two years said: “It’s such a great honour to have this opportunity to represent not just the Royal Artillery but Her Majesty’s Armed Forces in a national event.

“We know that all eyes will be on us, so we need to get it right. I joined the TA two years ago and I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to become involved in something like this.”

His proud family, including mum Joy, sister Gemma and Grandma and Granddad Jill and Tony, will be there to watch the ‘feu de joie’ – or ‘fire of joy’ – by three 105mm light guns at 10.47am.

“It’s the first big event that I’ve taken part in. It’s going to be a great day,” he added.

Jake, who volunteers with 307 (South Nottinghamshire Hussars Yeomanry Royal Horse Artillery) Battery Royal Artillery, has been rehearsing for the event at his Tuesday evening drill nights in Bulwell.

Now in its fifth year, Armed Forces day is an opportunity for the nation to show its support and appreciation for the men and women of the armed forces, their families, veterans and cadets.

Jake studied uniform public services at college and plans to transfer to the regular army in the next two years.

Battery commander, Maj Tom Walden-Lynch, 44, said: “It is a huge privilege for our Battery to launch Armed Forces Day. It truly is an honour and all the soldiers are training hard in readiness for the day.”