Prince Charles at Salisbury Cathedral

Army Air Corps Salisbury Cathedral July 2017 19 (Ellie Harries)

Published by the Spire FM News Team at 11:55am 6th July 2017 (Updated 5:46am 7th July 2017)

The Prince of Wales is visiting our city to help celebrate 60 years of the Middle Wallop based Army Air Corps.

Salisbury has a Royal visitor today (Thursday July 6th) - Prince Charles is visiting our Cathedral.

The Prince of Wales has taken part in a service to honour the 60th anniversary of the Middle Wallop based Army Air Corps (AAC) - he's been the regiment's Colonel in Chief for the last 25 years.

1,200 people have attended a special service at Salisbury Cathedral, as it's the Corps' regimental church, where a new Guidon has been dedicated.

That's a flag that's been presented to the regiment on behalf of the Queen to recognise the service given by AAC personnel on operations all over the world, including Borneo, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, the Middle East, Libya and Afghanistan.

Army Air Corps Salisbury Cathedral July 2017 3 (Ellie Harries)

Lieutenant Luke Johnson, the man tasked with accepting the new regimental Guidon from the Prince of Wales

LISTEN:

The biggest honour of the day probably goes to the man pictured above, he says the Army Air Corps is something he's very proud to represent:

The service has officially consecrated the Guidon as well as marking the anniversary.

One veteran who is at the service today is Major (Retired) Jim Dempsey:

There's a strong connection between the Army Air Corps and the Royal Family - in addition to Prince Charles' involvement, his son Prince Harry completed training as a helicopter pilot with the regiment at Middle Wallop back in 2014.

Here's the Prince arriving in the Cathedral Close this morning: 

Veterans, serving personnel and invited guests will be going to the service, led by the Dean of Salisbury, June Osborne.

She's told Spire FM it's a great occasion:

"It's a wonderful privilege for the Cathedral to be host to this. They are events that take a lot of organising, it has to be said - my staff and the staff of the Army Air Corps have been working on this for many months. I'm really hoping that what they will take out of today is a great sense that it's been a royal and celebratory day.

"The Royal Family are wonderful when they come to do these events, we had the Queen here for the Jubilee, we've had lots of other members of the Royal Family who are always interested in the communities around Salisbury. People who meet them never forget the encounter. They're extraordinarily good at engaging with people."

He flew into the Cathedral Close by helicopter today, leaving a few hours later.

Army Air Corps Salisbury Cathedral July 2017 12 (Ellie Harries)

'PRIDE AND CONCERN':

The Prince of Wales also addressed the troops from the Cathedral Close, explaining to families that he knows how it feels to be worried about loved ones while they're away serving.

He said soldiers couldn't do their job without the unwavering support of those back home.

Watch his full address here:

As well as the service, there's plenty more pomp and ceremony to be had - a military parade made up of AAC troops.

They were accompanied by the Band and Bugles of the Rifles and a traditional drumhead service led by the Chaplain General of the Army.

PHOTOS:

Take a look at all the photos from the day at www.spirefm.co.uk/gallery

The soldiers have been rehearsing for that parade in the grounds of Salisbury Cathedral this week:

Army Air Corps Practice Salisbury Cathedral 2 (Helen Down)

Army Air Corps Practice Salisbury Cathedral 1 (Helen Down)

There's also been a flypast of military helicopters used by the regiments - you might have heard them flying over Salisbury yesterday afternoon (Wednesday July 5th) practising for today as well.

Prince Charles will also be meeting local schoolchildren at the Cathedral as part of the events there.

Army Air Corps Salisbury Cathedral July 2017 8 (Ellie Harries)

Colonel Richard Green from the Army Air Corps explains why Salisbury Cathedral was chosen for the service: 

"It's our local Cathedral, we have two splendid windows inside which were put in 10 years ago. One's an Army Air Corps window, which commemorated our 50th anniversary and next to it, a glider pilot window, which is one of our antecedent regiments."

Charles has been meeting some of the well-wishers that turned out to see him too: 

LISTEN:

It's been a great day for the Army Air Corps families too - with many of them telling us about their experience with royalty - click PLAY to hear from them:

The celebrations will continue for the regiment too, with the actual 60th birthday of the AAC falling on 1st September.

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