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How will Suffolk mark Remembrance Sunday with social distancing?

PUBLISHED: 14:28 06 October 2020 | UPDATED: 16:08 06 October 2020

There will be no crowds like this at Christchurch Park for Remembrance Sunday this year. Picture:NIGE BROWN/Archant

There will be no crowds like this at Christchurch Park for Remembrance Sunday this year. Picture:NIGE BROWN/Archant

Archant

Next month’s Remembrance Sunday events across Suffolk are set to be cancelled or significantly scaled back because of the Covid-19 pandemic – with no parades and some of the ceremonies switched online and streamed.

The MoD has said there will be no military parades for Remembrance Sunday this year, so there will be no march past at Christchurch Park, Ipswich   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe MoD has said there will be no military parades for Remembrance Sunday this year, so there will be no march past at Christchurch Park, Ipswich Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The county’s largest commemoration at Christchurch Park in Ipswich always attracts thousands of people who want to honour those who fell serving their country – in 2018, the centenary of the end of the First World War, some estimated that there were as many as 10,000 people watching the ceremony on front of the Cenotaph.

MORE: Huge crowds mark the centenary of the First World War armistice

This year organisers are delaying making final plans until the scale of the pandemic and restrictions in the area is known – but they know it will be on a much smaller scale than has been seen for many years.

Andrew Beal, who runs the Ipswich Memorial Project and is also the Town Sergeant, said the organisers had been considering a number of different scenarios since the pandemic hit in the spring – but it was clear there would be major changes this year.

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He said: “We know 100% there will be no parade through the town and there will have to be many fewer at Christchurch Park for whatever happens there. I hope there will be something there – but there will be fewer wreaths and any service will be shorter with no singing.”

The ceremony that did take place at the Cenotaph would be streamed online so people could follow it on their computer – and he was hoping that special arrangements would be made to enable it to be streamed to care homes so residents could feel they were taking part in the ceremony.

But it would not be possible to have unlimited numbers at the park.

MORE: Lockdown forces changes to VE Day commemorations

It is not just Ipswich where things will be different this year – towns and villages across the county are having to re-think their plans for Remembrance Sunday.

Ken Robottom is chair of the county’s Royal British Legion and said members had accepted that things would be very different: “We will have small ceremonies with people leaving wreaths at village memorials, but we are not likely to have any church services.

“It is a real shame because this year is so important with the 75th anniversary of VE Day in May and then VJ Day, the end of the war in the Far East, in August. But we have had to get used to marking them in different ways.”


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