Pay your Respects and Remember at Home, that is the message from Congleton Town Council and the Congleton Branch of the Royal British Legion as the scaled-down plans for this year’s Remembrance Sunday are reduced further following the announcement of the second lockdown.
It had already been agreed that Congleton would not hold the traditional parade, church service and reception at the Town Hall and that the public would be asked to stay away on Remembrance Sunday. But now the organisers have reluctantly agreed to alter plans so that only a limited number of people who have notified the Royal British Legion can attend a carefully choreographed and filmed event which will be shared on social media for people to watch at home.
The planned event will no longer go ahead at 11am, due to the anticipation that the spectacle would draw crowds wishing to observe the event and show their respects. Local people are urged to remember and honour those who sacrificed their lives to secure and protect our freedom with a two-minute silence from their homes or other locations away from the site.
The Town Council and British Legion have contacted those who had confirmed that they wished to lay a wreath or attend as a veteran/ member of the armed forces to make alternative arrangements. They are also offering to lay the wreath on their behalf of the groups or organisations if that is preferable.
In another change to the plan, this year the space around the Eardley Statue will be available for people that wish to add wreaths on the Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. These wreaths will be added to the cenotaph site by contactors when appropriate. Although an area of the new-look Cenotaph will be available for the filmed service, the site is not yet complete and once the service is over the area will be secured as a working area. An area for the traditional wooden crosses will be placed at the front of the Community Garden in Lawton Street.
Gary Dolman from the Congleton Branch of the Royal British Legion said: “2020 has been a difficult year and we are all disappointed that we cannot hold a public Remembrance Parade and Service. It is important that we commemorate the contribution of the British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and in later conflicts. I very much hope that next year we will be in a position to have a large public event in the new space in Lawton Street.”
The Mayor, Councillor Sally Ann Holland added: “Congleton is a fantastic community and the usual attendance for the Remembrance Sunday is immense. We are all deeply saddened that this year we cannot all come together in one space to remember, but we must ask you to stay away to protect yourself and to protect others. It is very unfortunate circumstances that we find ourselves in, and we do not want to risk the health of veterans or other members of our community.”
Details of all those who attend the event will need to be held for 21 days as part of Track and Trace.