A FAMOUS veteran returned to his home town to help celebrate the commitment of members of the armed forces.
Wrexham veteran James Wharton took part in the launch of North Wales Armed Forces Day 2014 at the town’s Guildhall.
The former Ysgol Bryn Alyn pupil joined the Army in 2003, and after initial training went on to join the Blues and Royals.
He took part in a seven-month tour of Iraq in 2007 and has also served at a number of state functions, including escorting the Queen at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the state opening of Parliament, the cenotaph parade and the Queen’s birthday parade.
Mr Wharton came out as gay early on during his time in the Army and was the first openly gay person to appear on the front cover of Soldier magazine.
The 28-year-old, who now lives in Windsor, Berkshire, said it was a “real honour” to have been named North Wales ambassador for Armed Forces Day.
He was joined at the launch by Cllr David Griffiths, armed forces champion for Wrexham Council.
Cllr Griffiths said: “I’ve known James and his family for many years and it is tremendous privilege for us to have his support and backing for this year’s North Wales Armed Forces Day.
“James has shown tremendous courage during his years of service since leaving the Army, and as a town we are incredibly proud of James and his achievements.”
Cllr Griffiths added Wrexham had “a long and very proud tradition of supporting the armed forces”.
Armed Forces Day will take place on Saturday, June 21, between 10am and 4pm.
The programme will include a march on to the Llwyn Isaf green near the Guildhall and presentations of veterans’ pins.
A static Griffin helicopter will be on display during the day and a Spitfire flyover will also take place. For children there will be activities such as circus training from the Circus Malabaristas, face painting and a climbing wall.
Anybody wanting more information should visit www.wrexham. gov.uk