Remembrance Sunday: Stay safe and commemorate at home, says Legion

Members of the public are being urged to honour the fallen by taking part in Remembrance Day services at home.

With the continued presence of Covid-19 in all parts of society, parades and communal services have been cancelled due to safety concerns around the pandemic, with smaller services or private wreath laying events taking place instead.

The Royal British Legion (RBL) has been particularly affected by the pandemic, with a reduction in poppy sales across the region and members being unable to march in annual parades.

Leading figures from Royal British Legion branches across the region have been speaking about the differences in commemorations this year and how people can safely mark the annual day of remembrance.

Stafford RBL president Chas Dale said he had been due to attend the Stafford Borough memorial service to lay a wreath on behalf of the legion, but the event had been cancelled following announcement of the new lockdown.

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He said he would still lay a wreath in private and said the current situation made the commemorations very different to previous years.

"It's hugely different as we can't commemorate it with other people and while it will still happen, there won't be a community feel to it," he said.

"My message to people is the same as many other RBL branches, which is to stay home and commemorate at 11am on Sunday on your front door step with the people of your area."

In Willenhall, a virtual service has been filmed and will go live on Facebook and YouTube at 10.30am on Sunday with a time to start watching to align the film to the 11am two minute silence.

Desmond Birch, president of Willenhall RBL, said: "In the present climate, we have been told not to do a parade for Remembrance Sunday.

"So we got something together so the people of Willenhall can watch and do their own remembrance at home.

"We are trying to keep everyone safe from this horrible disease that is about"

Dudley RBL member and poppy collection organiser Rose Cook-Monk said there hadn't been as many people out selling poppies and spoke about how the virus had changed plans for remembrance.

She said: "The biggest change this year is the lack of any sort of parade, which will really be missed this year, as all these groups will miss out on being involved.

"I'm torn between whether the changes are the right decision or not as it has to be done for public safety, but it's a shame as people could have socially distanced and still paid their respects."

Jamie Bingham, who is a member of RBL Bilston, as well as the standard bearer and annual parade organiser, said he was disappointed, but said it was safer for people to commemorate at home.

He said: "The majority of people who could attend are in the vulnerable category, along with a lot of our members.

"For me, it's safer for them to do this at home, rather than try and meet up with people in a public place because of the risk of infection."

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