Market Drayton gearing up for virtual Remembrance Sunday service

Dozens of collaborators are working together on this year's virtual Remembrance service in a Shropshire garrison town.

Some of Market Drayton's many veterans have been involved in production of this year's Remembrance video
Some of Market Drayton's many veterans have been involved in production of this year's Remembrance video

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

But the coronavirus crisis means that large gatherings are banned for public safety, and 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.

Some of the 31 segments will be filmed live on the day, including a two-minute silence, the laying of the eight wreaths and, it is hoped, a fly-over of three vintage airplanes.

Live streaming will be available on the Drayton Crier Facebook group, while the full video should be available online shortly after midday on Remembrance Sunday.

One of the pre-filmed segments will be performances of the Last Post and the Reveille by the Buglers Association of The Light Division & Rifles.

Aside from the eight designated to be filmed, other wreaths will be laid independently throughout the day to discourage gatherings.

Wreaths will be available for collection from the Royal British Legion club in Church Street on Friday, November 6, from 7pm.

The town is usually a big contributor to the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal for veterans, though it is feared that donations will be cut in half this year because of the pandemic.

Mick Hughes of the Market Drayton Royal British Legion branch, who is coordinating the video service, said that the group is braced for much fewer donations this year, having raised almost £25,000 in last year's appeal.

He said that he hoped the townspeople's regular generosity is still evident, with poppies available from supermarkets, petrol stations and schools in the area.

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