A Cumbernauld veteran of famous tank regiment the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards says he and many former army comrades were left “disgusted” by UK Armed Forces Day in Stirling.
Alex Alum, of North Carbrain, says elderly and in some cases infirm veterans were unable to find anywhere to sit during the spectacular show – and complains that private caterers were charging £10 for a hotdog and £4 for a pint of beer in a plastic mug.
Stirling Council has robustly defended the way it organised the event, which took place on the same day as the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.
And a serving captain in the Dragoon Guards has – via the council– issued a commununique: “The Colonel of the Regiment, Brigadier Simon Allen, and the chairman of the Association, have nothing but praise for the organisation and hospitality provided by the city of Stirling.”
But Mr Alum, who is active in the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Association, said: “Guys in their 60s and 70s were really being asked to stand for way too long, and apart from a free roll and a bottle of water had to pay over the odds if they wanted to eat or drink – it was a disgrace.
“It’s been suggested we’ve been ‘wimps’, but there were people using crutches who had to be helped to sit on the ground, which is not acceptable. Everyone I’ve spoken to says the same – where were the seats?”
He added: “Contrast that with the reception we got in Glasgow the next day, where the reception was magnificent – the veterans could not have been better treated. They felt they actually mattered in Glasgow.”
Another Cumbernauld man at the event, who is a member of a different veterans’ group, said Mr Alum’s observations are accurate.
He said: “We took a look at the prices they were charging and headed off into town”.
Stirling says it has received unstinting praise, with “hugely positive feedback from veterans”.
It says the catering charges were standard for events of the kind.
The council also says it charged ‘a small fee’ to each trader, and that these were reputable suppliers.
And it adds that it contributed £250,000 to the total cost of the event.
The Veterans Tent (used for info stands about Forces support organisations ) wasn’t intended as a seated area, but was used as a shelter when it started raining.