Remembrance Sunday: the neighbourhoods in Preston, Chorley, South Ribble and Ribble Valley with the highest share of military veterans

As remembrance services are held across the UK to commemorate those who fought and died serving the country, census data released for the first time shows there are 1.9 million UK armed forces veterans living in England and Wales.
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They include 1.4 million people who previously served in the regular forces, 361,000 who served in the reserve forces and 79,000 who served in both the regular and reserve forces. In Lancashire, South Ribble has the highest number of war veterans with a total of 4,245 representing 4.6 per cent of the population over 16. Chorley was the next highest with 4,179 - 4.3 per cent of the population over 16. In Preston there are 3,892 veterans - 3.3 per cent of the population over 16, followed by 2,067 in the Ribble Valley with four per cent of the population over 16.

Until now, the Government was only able to estimate the number of veterans living in England and Wales, with a previous figure given of around two million and no data held on where these veterans might live. But lobbying from various groups, including this title’s own Veterans In Crisis campaign, saw the 2021 census include a question about a person’s military background for the first time.

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The first release of the resulting information was welcomed by veterans’ charities, who said it would help them with their vital work in supporting those who had served.

Charles Byrne, director general of the Royal British Legion, said: “This data will transform our understanding of the veteran population and enable public and voluntary service providers to deliver the best care and support for our Armed Forces community, where it is needed most. It will surprise many people to learn that, until today, nobody knew exactly how many veterans there were in England and Wales, or where they lived.”

The Office for National Statistics plans to release further analysis of the census data on veterans in the coming months.

Chorley will pay its respects to armed forces this Sunday at a remembrance service in Astley Park.

A parade will form at around 10.25am on St Thomas’s Road and set off to the Cenotaph in Astley Park via Market Street and Park Road.

For more information on the day’s events visit council websites.