ORGANISERS planning to mark Armed Forces Day with a big community event have been refused funding unless they change their date.

The MoD said it can only fund events that are held within a week either side of Armed Forces Day on Saturday June 28 and that rules out Burton Parish Council’s commemorative event which will be held on the village green on Sunday, June 15.

The decision has been labelled “bureaucracy gone mad,” by parish council chair Judy Jamieson. She said their popular event, which is held every year and attracts around 1,000 people, meets all of the MoD’s criteria except for the fact it is being held one week too early.

“My reaction was major disappointment and astonishment at the inflexibility of the MoD and the apparent intransigency of the bureaucracy especially when we’re ticking all the boxes that they highlight on their application form,” she said.

“This particular fund was signposted to me by Dorset County Council and it’s clear we meet their criteria of bringing together the civilian and forces population and involving all sections of the community.

“I just think it’s bureaucracy gone mad.”

She said they would not be changing for date of their event, as they felt that holding it on Father’s Day was apt and would ensure a good turnout.

They had applied for £4,900, which would have funded the pipe marching band, advertising banners, bus service, PA system, bunting and flags, staging, seating and the printing of programmes and flyers.

In an email to Mrs Jamieson, Wing Commander Tracey Broome of the ceremonial events and commemoration team, said: “The funding policy was carefully considered in direct response to the central government initiative for the nation to host Armed Forces Day events in 2009 and the remit remains extant.

“We fully understand your disappointment but I feel sure you will appreciate we cannot be flexible with public money when policy has so clearly been stipulated.”

n Anyone who could help with sponsorship or funding for the event can contact Mrs Jamieson on 07860 452279.