THOUSANDS of people flocked to Skipton yesterday (Sunday)  for Sheep Day and to show their support for Armed Forces Day.

The High Street and Canal Basin were packed all day for the annual celebration of Sheep Town and also to see the lowering of the Armed Forces Day Flag which had been raised above the town hall on Monday at the start of Armed Forces week.

With the day staying dry, although a bit cloudy at times, there was plenty to keep everyone entertained with the ever popular Sheep Show, featuring live sheep-shearing, vintage tractors, ferret-racing and a display of birds of prey by SMJ Falconry.

There was also Morris Dancing and young cattle, sheep, ducks, llamas and goats for children to pet, and even a life-size dummy cow for people to try milking.

Your Skipton Radio, formerly Rombalds Radio, provided a stage for live music acts, including the choir Voices of Yorkshire. people were invited to take their pictures on giant sheep models, or take their chance on a bucking sheep,  and there was plenty to eat and drink.

Holy Trinity Church was open for the day, with people invited to climb the tower for a bird's eye view of the High Street, Skipton Brass played outside the town hall, Skipton Fire Station invited people to look round one of its appliances, and organisations running stalls included Incredible Edible and Yorkshire Air Ambulance ran stalls.

A team from the Royal Artillery was there with a recruiting tent, and also gave out free 'army rations' of a delicious chicken curry and vanilla chocolate sponge and custard, which proved so popular, they ran out.

Also there was the 5th Regiment Royal Artillery – The Yorkshire Gunners; Haworth Home Guard; regimental displays and  military vehicles.

Skipton Mayor, Cllr Claire Nash, showed what a great sport she is by getting in the stocks and having wet sponges - fortunately, not rotten fruit, thrown at her in aid of Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice.

She said: "I am delighted that locals and visitors were able to enjoy another great traditional Sheep Day, organised by the town council which prides itself on making its events free and accessible.

"The food was good, the entertainment was great - thanks to all the dancers and musicians - and lots of voluntary groups as well as artisans had stalls. A big thanks to everyone who donated to my mayoral charity of Manorlands Hospice whilst I stood in the stocks.

"It was also a day to remember our armed forces community and at the end of the day the Armed Forces Flag was lowered in a ceremony and given to veteran Barry Blood."

Barry Blood, member and former president of Skipton Royal British Legion was presented with the Armed Forces Day Flag after it was lowered at the end of the day from the town hall.

He said: “I would just like to thank everyone involved in the lowering of the flag ceremony, it was very well attended and well organised. I am very proud and grateful to have been nominated to receive the Armed Forces Day flag ,it was a great honour and l will forever remember the day.”

Louise Close, chief officer of Skipton Town Council, said: “What a fantastic day in Skipton for the annual celebration of our town, 'Sheep Town'.”

"Everybody enjoyed themselves and I have received some lovely feedback. The charity stalls were welcomed as this annual event is paramount to their support and we thank everyone who took time to speak to our traders.

"The poignant moment of the lowering of the Armed Forces Day Flag, presented to Barry Blood by Sgt John Spraggon of the 5th Regiment, ‘The Yorkshire Gunners’ brought a moment of reflection and thanks to all our armed personnel and families, both past and present, who sacrifice so much.

"Our relationship with the Yorkshire Gunners is a very special and proud one."

Mrs Close added: "I’d like to thank everybody who attended, traded, smiled, and enjoyed the day in our lovely town.”