SOUTH Ribble Borough Council has devised a scheme to ensure Remembrance Sunday can still be marked despite coronavirus, with a pre-recorded online remembrance service set to be published to Facebook on 8 November.
For years, Remembrance Sunday in South Ribble has been an incredibly important, well-supported occasion – with an impressive parade, cenotaph ceremony and church service.
However, in a bid to keep its residents safe in light of rising coronavirus cases, South Ribble Borough Council has decided to cancel all proceedings that would normally take place on Remembrance Sunday (8 November).
Instead, a pre-recorded service of remembrance – which has been filmed at the war memorial (or ‘cenotaph’) on Church Road in Leyland – will be posted to the council’s Facebook page in the morning of Sunday 8 November.
To watch the video, go to:
Only a very small number of dignitaries feature in the video – including the Leader of the Council, Councillor Paul Foster; the Mayor of South Ribble, Councillor Jane Bell; the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Charles Hadcock; and Reverend David Whitehouse, the Vicar at St Andrew’s Church.
Councillor Paul Foster, Leader of the Council, said: “We have taken this decision because it is clearly the right thing to do for the people of South Ribble and their safety.
“Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly, and it became apparent that a full Remembrance Sunday parade and service would clearly contravene Government guidance on large gatherings.
“That said, we all felt passionately about the delivery of an alternative – which is why we have pre-recorded a small remembrance service at the war memorial on Church Road in Leyland to be shared to the council’s Facebook page on Sunday 8 November.
“Despite everything that is going on in the world – and the uncertainty we all face – one thing we can be certain of is the incredible sacrifices, bravery and valour shown by the amazing service men and women fighting for this country.
“Remembrance Sunday 2020 should still be marked with unequivocal pride and admiration – and I am just glad that this authority has decided to proceed with this online remembrance service, which I hope the people of South Ribble will watch and reflect on during this important time of commemoration.”
Councillor Jane Bell, Mayor of South Ribble, said: “Remembrance Sunday in South Ribble has always been a really poignant occasion, drawing huge crowds of people who want to join together in remembering the fallen and paying their respects to those that sacrificed so much.
“We will not allow coronavirus to thwart our plans, though, and I am delighted that we will be providing this digital service that means people can stay inside their own homes and watch the pre-recorded ceremony on Facebook. We hope it can be as poignant as services from years gone by.”
Councillor Derek Forrest, Armed Forces Champion at South Ribble Borough Council, said: “I am pleased that we are finding alternative ways to do things in South Ribble, despite coronavirus. I fully agree with the Leader of the Council: it is simply unsafe to conduct a full-blown parade and ceremony like we normally would, and we must always have our residents’ safety at the very forefront of our minds.
“As Armed Forces Champion, I will be watching the online service of remembrance with much interest and I am confident that we will still be able to capture the right mood for the occasion.
“It is, of course, a sombre day – and one during which we should reflect deeply on the lives lost and sacrifices made.
“Remembrance Sunday continues to serve as an important reminder that conflict, hate, aggression and retaliation are never the solution, nor the behaviours, that we want to see in our society.
“Remembrance Sunday is all the more significant this year, as it follows commemorations earlier in 2020 when we marked 75 years since VE Day (Victory in Europe) and VJ Day (Victory over Japan) – therefore let us think on these important landmarks and remind ourselves of the atrocities that our soldiers had to overcome.”
Residents who wish to lay their own wreaths at the war memorial on Church Road in Leyland (or at other memorials around the borough) may do so; however, the council advises that if someone is already there laying a wreath, then you must keep your distance, wait outside on the pavement for them to finish paying their respects, before doing so yourself. The council implores social distancing to be observed at all times. You should only visit the war memorial with people from your own household.
The decision not to have a public event to mark Remembrance Sunday follows guidance from the Lancashire Resilience Forum (LRF) on restrictions around upcoming faith and community events for the remainder of 2020 due to coronavirus.
The restrictions relate to upcoming events including:
- Prophet Muhammad’s birthdate (28/29 October);
- Halloween (31 October);
- Bonfire celebrations (5-7 November);
- Remembrance Sunday (8 November);
- Diwali (14 November);
- Hanukkah (10-18 December);
- and the switching on of Christmas lights.
Submitted by South Ribble Borough Council