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Remembrance Day 2020: The Suffolk ceremonies going ahead and how they have been changed due to coronavirus




As with most occasions this year, commemorating Remembrance Day in Suffolk will be quite different in 2020 – particularly as England has entered into a second national coronavirus lockdown this week.

Downing Street has confirmed that Remembrance events this weekend and next week will be allowed to go ahead outside though, as long as social distancing measures are in place.

Earlier this week, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “It’s important that the country can continue to come together to remember the sacrifice of those who have died in the service of their country and we will ensure that Remembrance Sunday is appropriately commemorated while protecting public health.”

Poppy wreaths. Picture: Vikki Lince
Poppy wreaths. Picture: Vikki Lince

So, be it small-scale services or virtual services you can watch from home, it's clear organisers have had to adapt the way they and their communities mark the important date.

We've spoken to some Royal British Legion (RBL) branches in the county, as well as local authorities, to find out what they have planned to honour those who have served for our freedom.

Here is what's happening in your area:

Beccles

On Remembrance Sunday, November 8, there will be a short service of Remembrance at Beccles War Memorial with limited numbers and wreath-laying from 2pm.

And on Wednesday, November 11 – Armistice Day – there will be a two-minute silence held in the town centre from 11am.

Brandon

While there won't be a Remembrance Parade in Brandon this year due to the coronavirus restrictions, the town's RBL branch will still be marking the occasion.

There will be a small wreath-laying ceremony on Remembrance Sunday from 11am – but members of the public are asked not to attend this event, as representatives of local organisations will lay the wreaths on behalf of the community.

Officials hope to live-stream the ceremony for those who are wishing to watch it to the Brandon Forum and Brandon Royal British Legion Facebook pages.

And on Armistice Day, a two-minute silence will be observed on the market square from 11am.

While a number of traditional Remembrance events, such as church services and parades, are not able to go ahead this year, residents are still able to follow a number of virtual services from home
While a number of traditional Remembrance events, such as church services and parades, are not able to go ahead this year, residents are still able to follow a number of virtual services from home

Bury St Edmunds

A number of invitation-only events have been planned in Bury St Edmunds this year.

Among these is a Remembrance event which will be held on Armistice Day at Angel Hill Memorial Cross, starting at 10.45am.

A church service which had been planned for Remembrance Sunday at St Mary's has now been cancelled after the latest coronavirus lockdown announcement, but the church will be holding a prayer session on Facebook at 9.30am and a Sunday service on Zoom at 6pm.

Chris Cadge, branch secretary of the town's RBL, said: "The Bury St Edmunds Royal British Legion feel all the events are important and will do the best to make sure we never forget about our veterans and serving personal in the armed forces."

Read more: Why the Poppy Appeal must not be overlooked in Suffolk during the pandemic

Read more: Council says despite Covid-19, we will remember them

Eye

In Eye, organisers say there will be a 'low-key' Remembrance event happening, with marshals in place to guide anyone who wants to lay a wreath.

Eye Town Council has also confirmed there will be a 10-minute ceremony on Sunday at 11am, when a two-minute silence will be observed by those present.

Read more: Pair paint the town red with poppies

Felixstowe

A parade will not be held in Felixstowe as it has in previous years, but a small civic party will lay wreaths at the war memorial at 11am.

Felixstowe Town Council said formal wreath laying will follow in allotted time slots in accordance with social distancing rules.

Members of the public can follow the service, which will be live-streamed and available afterwards, on the RBL Felixstowe Facebook page and a digital service sheet will accompany the commemoration.

The town was also set to bring back a Festival of Remembrance this year at the Spa Pavilion but this has been postponed to 2021.

Felixstowe Spa Pavilion. Picture: Mark Westley
Felixstowe Spa Pavilion. Picture: Mark Westley

There will be a virtual Festival of Remembrance though, held by Felixstowe's RBL branch and Ceremonial News, live on Facebook and YouTube on Saturday from 7.30pm, with donations going to the Poppy Appeal.

For more information, visit Felixstowe RBL on Facebook.

Hadleigh

A wreath-laying and Remembrance service will be taking place at Hadleigh War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday, starting at 3pm. The event is limited to invited guests.

The town's RBL branch is asking the public to observe Remembrance from home this year.

Haverhill

The town council and the RBL branch said they won't be able to hold a parade in Haverhill this year, and the ceremony at the war memorial on Remembrance Sunday won't be open to the public – it will be a restricted service with limited numbers of representatives from local groups and organisations.

But there will be a live-stream of the ceremony available online, which will include wreath laying, addresses and prayers, the national anthem and a rendition of Reveille to mark the sacrifices and bravery of the fallen.

People can join the virtual commemoration from 10.40am on Sunday by visiting Haverhill Town Council’s social media channels – on YouTube and on Facebook.

The town will also host a community two-minute silence – residents are encouraged to go to their doorsteps at 11am on Remembrance Sunday to remember, together.

A public silence on the High Street on November 11 will no longer be taking place to avoid the possibility of a public gathering.

Due to the second lockdown Haverhill Town Council’s Remembrance Day plans have changed and been scaled back further. In accordance with the government guidelines a restricted service with limited numbers of representatives from local groups and organisations will be held at the War Memorial on Sunday 8 November. Members of the public unfortunately will not be able to attend but everyone can watch via a live stream of the service.

You can join the commemoration from 10.40am on Sunday 8 November by going to the Haverhill Town Council’s social media channels

Youtube https://bit.ly/2I8dGso

Facebookbit.ly/38cMOT4

The ceremony will include wreath laying, addresses and prayers, the national anthem and a rendition of Reveille to mark the sacrifices and bravery of the fallen.

The town council also invites the people of Haverhill to come to their doorsteps at 11.00am for a community two minute silence on 8 November so that we may remember, together.

The public silence on the High Street on 11 November will not be taking place to avoid the potential of a public gathering.

Ipswich

On Sunday, November 8, a service will be held at the Cenotaph in Ipswich's Christchurch Park to mark Remembrance Sunday.

A limited number of guests will be invited to attend the service and to ensure the safety of all those involved, strict social distancing measures will be in place.

There will be no formal parades, processions, fly passes or bands at the service.

Remembrance Day is set to look very different this year
Remembrance Day is set to look very different this year

The public will be able to listen to the service on BBC Radio Suffolk, and watch the video stream live at www.bbc.co.uk. The video stream will also be available on BBC iPlayer after the event. Links to the live video stream will be available closer to the event.

Mayor of Ipswich, Cllr Jan Parry said: “It’s a shame that we cannot come together to commemorate Remembrance Sunday but right now, we all have a responsibility to slow the spread of Covid-19. We can still take time to reflect and honour the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice and thank veterans and those actively serving in our Armed Forces.

“We can mark the day in many safe ways. I would encourage people to watch the live stream service, take part in the national two minutes’ silence and visit the Ipswich Borough Council and Royal British Legion websites for ideas to involve the whole family. Whatever you do to commemorate Remembrance Sunday, please make sure you do it safely.”

The borough council has developed a webpage full of alternative activities to help residents commemorate Remembrance Day from home, including making your own poppy cross or peace sculpture. There are also links to resources developed by the Royal British Legion.

The council is keen to share photos, videos, stories and artwork of residents commemorating Remembrance 2020 from their home.

People can tag the council in their posts on Twitter @IpswichGov or Facebook: www.facebook.com/ipswichgov.

Kesgrave

Kesgrave's Remembrance service on Armistice Day will not be open to the public, due to coronavirus restrictions.

Instead, the town council said it hopes to have a pre-recorded or live stream service that residents will be able to view via their website.

Long Melford

While there won't be a parade in the village this year, there will be a live-streamed service from 10.50am on Sunday.

There is also a Remembrance Gardens set up on the top green for everyone to lay their personal tribute, which is available until mid November.

The village also is arranging a Window Wanderland event, between Saturday and Wednesday, November 11, in which people can create Remembrance-themed window displays.

The idea is to create a Remembrance Walking Trail which will light up Long Melford in the evenings between 5.30pm and 8.30pm.

For more information, visit https://www.windowwanderland.com/area/long-melford/.

Downing Street has confirmed that Remembrance events will be allowed to go ahead outside, as long as social distancing measures are in place. Picture Mark Westley
Downing Street has confirmed that Remembrance events will be allowed to go ahead outside, as long as social distancing measures are in place. Picture Mark Westley

Lowestoft

Lowestoft's Remembrance service and parade have been cancelled this year, with "deep regret", by the town council.

They said they will be suggesting other ways people in the town can commemorate – check the town council's website in the next few days for updates.

Mayor Alan Green said: "I sincerely hope that we will be able to join together again in 2021 in our usual way to pay our respects to the fallen of our town who gave so much.

"I wish you well in these unprecedented and difficult times."

Mildenhall

The chairman of Mildenhall and district's RBL Jude Price said all of their Remembrance services will be going ahead, with social distancing measures in place.

Mr Price added that wreaths would be laid on all the area's memorials on Saturday, apart from Mildenhall's, where wreaths will be laid on Sunday.

"We recommend that the public don't attend these services for safety reasons, but we ask those that want to, to please observe all the relevant rules and to wear the suitable PPE," he said.

Newmarket

The town council said that Remembrance Sunday would be commemorated in Newmarket in a "different way" this year because of the pandemic.

Newmarket Town Council, in collaboration with the town's RBL, said places to their Remembrance would be limited and allocated on a first-come, first-served, basis.

Cheveley's RBL said, on Facebook, that there would be no public Act of Remembrance at either the war memorial or the church and asked people not to gather at either place.

A pre-recorded service can be watched on YouTube instead, with the order of service here.

Stowmarket

Instead of the traditional church service and parade through Stowmarket, this year, a small number of representatives from the town's RBL, local churches and the town council will meet at the Memorial Gates to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives during conflict and to observe two minutes' silence at 11am.

This event is by invitation only, but the service will be live-streamed on Stowmarket Town Council's online platforms.

The authority is encouraging residents to participate in the event by marking the two-minute silence from home.

Meanwhile, Armistice Day, on Wednesday, November 11, will be observed in a further invitation-only ceremony at the Recreation Ground Memorial Gates at 11am.

Sudbury

The town's RBL branch said things will "clearly be very different this year", and, as such, the branch and council have had to cancel the parades which were due to take place in Great Cornard and Sudbury.

However, wreath-laying will still take place at the following on Remembrance Sunday:

- At St Andrews Church in Great Cornard a small, socially-distanced congregation will gather around the War Memorial where the names of the fallen will be read out followed by the Kohima and exhortation. Wreaths will be laid at 11am.

- At St Gregory's Church in Sudbury, a small, socially-distanced congregation will gather around the War Memorials where the Kohima and exhortation will be read out and wreaths will be laid at 2.30pm.

Poppies on the pavement at St Peter's in Sudbury. Picture: Mark Westley
Poppies on the pavement at St Peter's in Sudbury. Picture: Mark Westley

Meanwhile, the Garden of Remembrance outside St Gregory’s Church will still be in place for those who wish to place a cross in memory of a loved one.

Residents are advised to check the websites of Sudbury's RBL branch and Sudbury Town Council in case of any changes to arrangements.

Read more: Poppies painted around heart of Sudbury to pay tribute to fallen war heroes ahead of Remembrance

Wickham Market

Residents in the village can watch this year's Remembrance service online, which can be found on the church's website where it will be streamed via YouTube from 11am.

Meanwhile, wreath-laying will be done individually, apart from a few that will be laid with social-distancing measures in place.

The RBL will be collecting on the Hill and wreaths can be collected from 28 Broad Road, Wickham Market – residents are asked to call Ken Howard beforehand on 01728 746000.

Woodbridge

A Remembrance Service which had been planned to take place in Elmhurst Park on Sunday has been cancelled following the announcement of the second lockdown, Woodbridge Town Council has confirmed this week.

A post on their Facebook page said: "Our thanks to the Royal British Legion Club Woodbridge and the local clergy for their help in organising this event; we truly hope to be back next year with a full and proper Service of Remembrance."

Meanwhile, members of the public and local organisations are still welcome to lay a wreath at the war memorial in their own time, as long as they adhere to Government guidelines.

Wrentham

Wrentham's RBL treasurer Rosie Carter said the branch tries to do something different each year to mark the occasion but things have had to be modified this year due to the coronavirus restrictions.

This means that Wrentham Band cannot take part but they will still have one of their own cornet players on duty.

The village will be commemorating Remembrance Sunday outside and socially-distanced around the churchyard War Memorial.

Rosie said: "We will be augmenting our usual outside part of the service which, this year, will not only include the Last Post, two minutes silence and Reveille and laying of wreaths, but will also commemorate those from Wrentham, Benacre and Covehithe who lost their lives as a direct result of the two world wars with reading the list of names of the fallen, some readings and prayers.

"We will end the service, as usual, with the planting of Remembrance Crosses around the memorial.

"There will be a cross for each one of the fallen and will carry the name, rank and service number of the specific person being honoured and they will remain in place for the year."

Read more: All the latest news from Suffolk