VIDEO - Red Arrows-style scooter displays to mark Armed Forces Day in Leeds

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Crowds have lined the streets of Leeds to honour and celebrate the courage and contribution of the Armed Forces - in an unusual way.

The city's Armed Forces Day celebrations, hosted by the Lord Mayor today on Briggate, saw a veterans' parade and salute, brass band concerts, and family entertainment.

Pictured Katie, 13, and Thomas, 10, Dunn, of Crossgates, Leeds, with Rifleman Connor Severns.

Pictured Katie, 13, and Thomas, 10, Dunn, of Crossgates, Leeds, with Rifleman Connor Severns.

And among the more unique of events held to honour the bravery of those who have served was a Red Arrows style tribute - on mobility scooters.

Six veterans, from the RAF and the Army, banded together for the two shows, having practiced for weeks to create their 'daring' displays.

There were wing tips (high fives), tornado twists (tight turns), and drama (a minor collision) as the group synchronised moves, raising money for charity.

"It's the centenary of the RAF," said organiser Martyn Simpson. "We thought we have to do something to celebrate.

A veterans parade and inspection by the Lord Mayor of Leeds Graham Latty.

A veterans parade and inspection by the Lord Mayor of Leeds Graham Latty.

"Everybody knows the Red Arrows, we thought we'd do it a bit differently. We've tried to get as close to a Red Arrows formation as we can.

"Due to health and safety, we can't have smoke trails, but in its place we have coloured ribbons, for the red, white and blue of the RAF."

Two RAF veterans joined the team, three Army veterans, one Women's Army Corps veteran, and they were aided by a Red 10 (supervisor) from the Garforth Amateur Dramatics. The scooters, meanwhile, were donated on loan from local charity Shop Mobility, and proceeds will go to the Royal British Legion.

And although this was a fun event, designed to draw a smile, it was also very much about marking the occasion, and honouring those who have served.

Youngsters having fun on a climbing wall.

Youngsters having fun on a climbing wall.

"We can't let it go by, for everybody that has been before, so that it hasn't been for nothing," said Mr Simpson. "This is our gratitude of thanks."

The city's event ran though the day, featuring stalls and displays manned by veterans and serving members of the armed forces.

It began with a veterans' parade and salute, followed by a two-hour concert by the West Yorkshire Police Band.

There were educational displays, military vehicles, stalls, and a chance to examine some of the weaponry used on battlefields.

Gavin Cook, 40, from Whitkirk in Leeds, brought sons Kyle, nine, and Alfie, seven.

"They've enjoyed it, seeing the quad bikes, trying helmets on," he said. "Kyle is learning about World War One at school, so it fits in, and their grandfather was in the Army.

"It's good to see what goes on, and to recognise what they do."

John Buckley, 51, from Ireland, on a visit to Yorkshire with Lisa Watts, 29 from Pontefract, was impressed by the mobility displays.

"It was great - they're not exactly the Red Arrows, but it was a bit of a laugh," he said.

And Tracey Walker, 49, from Skipton, on a shopping visit to the city, said she had been glad to chance upon the event.

"It's really good - it's all about respect I think," she said.

Among those manning the information displays was RAF veteran of 30 years, Paul Thompson, chairman of the Yorkshire Malayan and Borneo Veterans Association.

The Association, as part of its Forgotten Conflicts of the Far East project, funded through Heritage Lottery Funding, has pulled together the stories and histories of 25 members, documenting their experiences in-depth.

"This is the history of what we did," he said. "It's wonderful to share that. It's surprising the number of people who come up to us and say 'thank you'."

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP

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