Veterans plan alternative Remembrance Service after council's is cancelled

Remembrance Sunday 08/011/20 a short memorial and wreath-laying service at City Hall at 8am. Socail

An invite-only wreath-laying service will be held by the city council this year to be cautious of rising Covid rates. (L-R) Reverend Canon Edward Carter, vicar of St Peter Mancroft Church in Norwich, General Lord Dannatt, the former chief of the British Army and Norwich Lord Mayor Vaughan Thomas. - Credit: Archant

Veterans plan to hold a full Remembrance Service at the city War Memorial saying they are unhappy with the council's plans to "lay a wreath on film and call it a day".

Norwich City Council has cancelled the annual Remembrance Day parade on Sunday, November 14 this year and has scaled back its wreath-laying ceremony citing public health concerns due to rising Covid cases.

The Remembrance Day parade in Norwich 2019. Picture: Neil Didsbury

The Remembrance Day parade in Norwich 2019. Picture: Neil Didsbury - Credit: Archant

The council's wreath-laying ceremony will be invite-only, held early in the morning and then broadcast via YouTube.

But it has said anyone who wants to lay a wreath at the memorial in their "own act of remembrance" is welcome to do so afterwards.

So in its place ex-service men and women, led by the Royal Marines and Royal Naval Associations, intend to put on their own event.

Pat Bailey, chairman of the Norfolk Branch of the Royal Marines Association, said people were disappointed with the council's plans, so intended to ignore them and hold a Remembrance Service at the War Memorial as usual.

"This is our act of remembrance", he said. "It's not enough just to watch councillors lay a wreath, film it and then call it a day."

Remembrance Sunday 08/011/20 a short memorial and wreath-laying service at City Hall at 8am. Socail

Remembrance Sunday 08/011/20  a short memorial and wreath-laying service at City Hall at 8am. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Mike Mizen, who has acted as the city of Norwich's parade marshal for the last 20 years, said: "We will not be holding a parade, but we will be holding our own service.

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"This will start at 10.30am at the War Memorial and we'll get everyone formed up and marching on the pavement once we know how many people are there.

"At 10.45am we'll hear a prayer from a Roman Catholic priest, sing a hymn and lay the wreaths.

"At 11am, we'll hear the Last Post from the trumpeter, observe the two minutes silence and then I'll dismiss the crowd and send everyone home.

"There'll be a lot of ex-service associations there, but I have a feeling a lot of the public will be too.

"People always want to pay their respects, no matter what else is going on around them."

Remembrance ceremony and service at Norwich. Mike Mizen.
Photo: Bill Smith

Parade Marshal Mike Mizen has held the role for the last 20 years, having served in the Marines from 1961-1970 - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

A council spokeswoman said: "All of our standalone events that typically attracted larger crowds and involve road closures have been affected by the pandemic.

"We'll be marking Remembrance Day in a respectful and dignified way."

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