Catterick’s annual ‘Salute Our Heroes’ Family Raceday takes place this afternoon, as the North Yorkshire track sees its first meeting following the annual Go Racing in Yorkshire Festival. The meeting will have plenty of holiday crowd entertainment, with a parachute display by The Prince of Wales’s Regiment and a display of some of the military vehicles belonging to the Queen’s Own Yeomanry.
This is the third year that Catterick (population 3,155) has put on this event. I spoke to Fiona Needham, general manager, who explained the purpose behind it. She said, “We have Catterick Garrison (population 13,000) just up the road, and that’s a huge part of our local community. Today’s meeting falls in the school summer holiday, so it’s an excellent opportunity for us to give something back to the Army. There’s free entry for service personnel and their families, and we aim to give them all an enjoyable day out at the races.”
The course will once again have a live link up to Camp Bastion through the British Forces Broadcasting Services radio. That enables people at the track to send messages across to family members serving in Afghanistan, although there’s no opportunity for the overseas personnel to get a bet on, as it is strictly an outward messaging service only.
On the day fundraising for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and SSAFA has raised more than £10,000 in each of the past couple of years. Each of the charities has a race named for it in this afternoon’s card, so hopefully that will hep to boost fund further.