Alterations made to Remembrance parades through Shropshire

Community organisations and local dignitaries in Shropshire are hastily rearranging Remembrance plans after Boris Johnson announced a second national lockdown.

Parades and ceremonies had been organised at war memorials throughout the county, with social distancing and Tier 1 guidelines in place.

But following the Prime Minister's announcement on Saturday, many have been cancelled or changed to accommodate the latest restrictions.

In Shrewsbury, the town council is working to confirm any alterations.

Councillors had planned to hold a small wreath-laying ceremony at the war memorial in the Quarry on Remembrance Sunday, with mayor Phil Gillam among the attendees.

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Members of the public were going to be asked to pay their respects online although, given Shropshire was in Tier 1, measures were being planned to allow some people to watch the proceedings in person, with markings due to be made on the ground so people could separate in their bubbles of up to six.

Residents are still being encouraged to pay their respects through online streams and the town council is working to see whether a private ceremony can take place.

On Armistice Day next Wednesday, Councillor Gillam was to join members of the town's Royal British Legion at Shrewsbury Castle to observe the two minutes silence.

The town council is expecting to confirm alterations in the next few days.

In Bridgnorth, residents are also being asked to mark the occasion with two minutes' silence at home.

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Members of the town's Royal British Legion are due to attend the war memorial with Rev Simon Cawdell, mayor Kirstie Hurst-Knight and a representative of the Queen, to perform a small private ceremony.

Led by the town council, the private event will be aided by acts of tribute from community groups and individuals throughout the week.

John Whitty, chairman of the legion's Bridgnorth branch, said: "The Last Post and Reveille, and flag ceremony will still continue with the act of Remembrance, commencing at 11am.

"Myself and a uniformed member of the services can conduct that salient ceremony with the lockdown restrictions from November 5."

Plans in Much Wenlock have been cancelled, and residents are instead being asked to pay their respects at home and online.

A projection can be seen on the side of the Parish Church, which shows Remembrance displays.

In Newport, a private ceremony is set to take place on Sunday, with the public being asked to stay at home.

Mayor Peter Scott said: "We are recording a service which will be live streamed on Facebook, YouTube and Nova FM on Sunday, and lockdown will affect it.

"There is an outdoor service on Sunday by invite only. We are not encouraging people to attend.

"A town council service will take place at the cemetery on Armistice Day on Wednesday by invitation only – all Covid rules will be followed."

Lawley and Overdale Parish Council is inviting people to join a virtual Remembrance service this year.

Available online from Sunday, the virtual Remembrance service is hoped to be a touching tribute to the veterans of Britain, the council said.

Though the inaugural service last year held in-person at the Lawley War Memorial, the worsening coronavirus pandemic led the council to seek a more innovative way to honour Britain’s servicemen and women.

Sharon George, clerk of the parish council, said: “As a council, due to the current conditions we felt that we didn’t have the resources to safely hold a live, in-situ event.

“The Remembrance service last year was well attended by residents, but with the new restrictions coming in, as a small council it would have been impossible for us to manage large crowds – and the safety of our staff, residents, and guest speakers is our highest priority.”

Filmed at the Lawley War Memorial, the virtual service will feature guest speakers from the clergy, as well as wreath laying by local police, school children, and veterans associations, with music recorded by veterans and residents from parish.

Market Drayton, with its longstanding connections to nearby military bases, is usually packed for the service on Remembrance Sunday.

But the latest restrictions means that organisers this year are telling people to stay away from the war memorial in the town centre.

Instead, they will be providing a packed virtual programme of prayers, messages, musical performances and laying of wreaths, including by town mayor Roy Aldcroft and North Shropshire's MP Owen Paterson.

All of the town's churches are involved in the video, which is largely being produced by town councillor Mike Smith and expert Jeremy Blandford.

In Newtown, mid Wales, members of the community of all ages have got behind Councillor Joy Jones's initiative to decorate the cenotaph garden in the town with painted rocks and knitted poppies.

The colourful rocks are being lain on the side of the pathways in the garden with the knitted poppies attached to the fences.

In Ellesmere, poppy-painted rocks are also being created and taken to public areas throughout the town, and also at the churches.

Parades and events have been cancelled in Wellington, although the council has worked to create a Remembrance video that will be published on Sunday.

A statement from Wellington Town Council said: " We are saddened to announce that due to the forthcoming lockdown guidelines, along with the cancellation of the traditional Remembrance Day service and parade, that the service in Wellington's Market Square for Armistice Day has now also been cancelled.

"However, we have commissioned a video montage that includes a full service which will be published to social media on Sunday and Wednesday, November 11 to remember those fallen."

Councillors in Bishop's Castle are set to hold a small outdoor service following Covid guidelines, although access to the town's cenotaph will be restricted.

A live stream will also be shown on social media for those unable to attend.

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