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Remembrance services cancelled with people told to lay wreaths early

Written by on 02/11/2020

Traditional Remembrance services in Barnsley and Rotherham will not take place this year, councils have confirmed, with alternative ‘virtual’ commemorations being organised to ensure the fallen can be remembered with respect.

Sheffield and Doncaster Councils have not yet responded to a request for details of their arrangements, but it appears likely that many services across the county will be affected because of social distancing and South Yorkshire ‘s ‘tier three’ status as coronavirus cases continue to increase.

Those with wreaths to lay at war memorials are being encouraged to do so in advance of Armistice Sunday, in an attempt to avoid crowding.

In Barnsley, Council Leader Sir Steve Houghton said: “Remembrance Day is a significant and popular event in the borough as we pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

“Due to the restrictions that are in place as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we’ve made the difficult decision to mark Remembrance Sunday in a different way this year.

“Given that it is a hugely supported occasion in Barnsley, we understand that this is disappointing.

“However, the safety of our residents is our first priority, especially as our usual events are attended by a large number of elderly veterans and other groups who are particularly vulnerable to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

“As we remember the fallen, we must remember that we are fighting our own battle with Coronavirus (COVID-19).

“We’re urging people commemorate the day safely by laying wreaths in advance of Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day to avoid gatherings and minimise the spread of infection. Remember to keep your distance and follow government guidance to keep yourselves and others safe.

“We’re currently developing a virtual Remembrance Sunday event which will broadcast on our social media channels. #

“We’re doing this so that you can mark the occasion safely from home. We would also encourage people to follow the advice from the Royal British Legion about the many other ways we can take part in Remembrance, available on their website.

“It is our promise that despite these unusual circumstances, we will remember them.”

Rotherham Council said the decision not to hold a normal service was “extremely disappointing” and added:”We know a lot of people will be upset that we are unable to mark what is always such a big occasion in Rotherham.

“However, we are determined that, no matter what, we will remember them. We are currently working on plans with our partners to host a virtual Remembrance Sunday event which would broadcast on our social media channels for people to follow safely from home.”

One of Barnsley’s larger local services, which normally involves a parade through Hoyland, to the war memorial then on to the centre of the community, will not take place because of concerns about transmitting the virus.