PIPERS and drummers took over Culver Square yesterday (Saturday) to officially launch this year’s Colchester Military Tournament.

Shoppers had a sneak peek of some of the things which will be on offer at the annual event, which will take place on July 5 and 6.

Military vehicles, provided by the East Anglian Fighting Vehicle Group, parked up in the shopping square and the City of Norwich Pipe Band performed at the launch.

The tournament, which is being organised by the East Anglia branch of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, is set to be the biggest yet with variety of entertainment planned for all ages.

Highlights include a fly past by a Spitfire of the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, stunts by the Bolddog Lings Freestyle Motocross team and a routine by the Red Devils free-fall parachute team.

Live music acts, including the Colchester Military Wives and the Essex Police Band, will be performing during the weekend.

The charity’s regional director Major Peter Harclerode, added: “As the British Army’s own national charity, we are proud to be launching the Colchester Military Tournament which, in addition to being a great family event for the town, will raise funds to help support our serving soldiers, veterans and their families in East Anglia.”

David Robertson, centre manager at Culver Square shopping centre, said: “As a keen supporter of military charities and having previously worked for the forces myself, I am delighted Culver Square could be involved with the launch of the Colchester Military Tournament.

"Our shoppers got a great insight into what's in store at the event in July.”

Early bird tickets cost £15, and family tickets are available for £35.

To buy tickets visit www.colchestermilitarytournament.co.uk/tickets/ or call 0844 871 8819.