AN inaugural extravaganza to mark Armed Forces Day saw large crowds head to Taunton’s Vivary Park at the weekend.

Military charities were on hand to collect funds and raise awareness, local food venders provided refreshments, and there were even a pack of Star Wars’ famous stormtroopers in attendance to give the event a boost.

An official opening for the event was attended by Somerset West and Taunton council chiefs and the town’s mayor on Saturday morning.

There was entertainment throughout, including the Taunton Military Wives choir.

There were a number of displays, such as the Upottery Living History Group, the Living History Mobile Museum, and Exmoor Search and Rescue team.

There was also an RNLI campervan, and a group of Stormtroopers from TeamSWG helped to entertain younger visitors and collected for SSAFA.

SSAFA is the Armed Forces charity - formerly known as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association - and is a UK charity that provides lifelong support to serving men and women and veterans from the British Armed Forces and their families or dependents.

Afterwards, an organiser said: “It was lovely to see all who came to our very first Armed Forces Day event.

“Thank you for your support. See you all next year.”

Taunton’s Royal Marines Association said: “A huge thank you from the Taunton RMA for the invite. It was a great day for us and we would be pleased to be considered for the next one.”

The Chard branch of the Royal British Legion added: “What a fantastic team effort today at Taunton Armed Forces Day.

“It was incredibly hot but the crowds still came and it was a successful event with plenty of banter, laughter and friendship. Well done and thank you to everyone who volunteered their time and energy.”