A Lancaster bomber from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight turned heads and had cameras clicking by the hundred as it flew three times over Manchester Town Hall today.
The flypast was a fitting tribute to veterans of the armed forces and support services at the end of their parade through the city from a special Veterans Day service at Manchester Cathedral to the Town Hall in Albert Square.
Taking the salute were the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Mavis Smitheman, the Lord-Lieutenant for Greater Manchester, Warren Smith, and Baroness Taylor of Bolton, Minister for Defence Equipment & Support.
In Albert Square veterans had the chance to see a special garden created by Manchester-based volunteers from the Prince's Trust working with veterans, as part of Manchester Garden Market.
The Lord Mayor then hosted a civic reception for veterans in the Town Hall then veterans representing the range of armed forces and support services, were presented with their Veteran's Badges by the Lord-Lieutenant.
The Lancaster bomber, which were built at the Avro factory in Newton Heath from the 1940s, is perhaps best known for its role in the famous Dambusters raid on three dams in the Ruhr valley in May 1943.
Councillor Jim Battle, Deputy Leader of the Council, said today: "Manchester and the whole country owes a great debt of gratitude to the veterans and I'm very pleased that so many people turned out today to pay tribute to them.
"The Lancaster flying over was very impressive and caused quite a stir. The celebrations continue tomorrow and I hope people from Manchester and further afield will join us at Castlefield, where there will be something to please all the family."
There will be a FREE Fun-Filled Family Celebration at Castlefield, just of Liverpool Road, from noon to 5pm tomorrow (Saturday 28 June).
There will be live music from the 1940s to the present, including Manchester's very own Cole Page with his 7-piece orchestra. Dancers will show you the moves of the time, so everyone can get up and have a go.
Shop Front Home Front, a living history drama, will be performed throughout the day, presented by the People's History Museum.
For the more active, there will be an inflatable assault course and penalty shoot-out.
Display of military vehicles including a 1940s cockpit. Command tasks using mental and physical skills from Skill Force. Young and old can join together to win prizes. Imperial War Museum North will be providing free object handling sessions linked to the Home Front and the Second World War, lively quizzes about rationing and plenty more activities to spark off sharing memories and intergenerational reminiscence.
Guided walks around Castlefield will be provided by Manchester's Blue Badge Guides. To pre-book call 01457 765 417.
There will also be fairground, information stalls for veterans and food available at Castlefield.
At the nearby MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry) there will be a Homelife Memories event from 12.30pm to 3.30pm in which visitors are invited to share wartime memories and discover more about 1940s homelife in Manchester.
MOSI will also host a variety of street performers over the weekend, including a samba band, stilt walker, face painter and science buskers.
Veterans who are disabled badge holders can access limited free parking via Duke Street, off Liverpool Road.
For more information call: Manchester Visitor Information Centre on 0871 222 8223* or visit http://www.manchesterlive.co.uk/
* Calls cost 10p per minute from a BT landline, calls from other providers may vary.
Get your Veteran's Badge
Manchester veterans are being encouraged to apply for their Veteran's Badge.
If you are a veteran and would like to register for your Veteran's Badge, call the Manchester office of The Royal British Legion on 0161 831 0323.
Further information for veterans, including help and advice on many issues can be obtained from the free Veterans-UK helpline 0800 169 2277 or by visiting http://www.veterans-uk.info/
Martin Hellewell, Press Office, tel: 0161 234 3729