Covid-19 cancels Arran war memorial services

There will be no repeat of this scene at Brodick cenotaph in 29=018 this year.

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By Colin Smeeton

Despite concerted efforts by Arran Community Council to ensure some form of commemorative service took place this weekend on Remembrance Sunday, groups on Arran have been left with no option but to cancel all plans to comply with strict Covid-19 regulations.

Instead, services of commemoration will be held at churches while Arran and North Ayrshire residents are encouraged to privately pay their respects to fallen servicemen and women with a two-minute silence at 11am on Sunday.

As reported in the Banner last week, community council chairman Bill Calderwood investigated options of social distancing and special measures to ensure a ‘Remembrance Day service of some form’ could go ahead. But after talks involving council chiefs, Police Scotland, Brodick Improvements Committee and the British Legion, organisations on Arran have been left powerless to hold an event of any kind.

Relevant groups can still lay wreaths but they are encouraged to place them in private and not in any ordered manner which involves waiting in line. People are not allowed to attend a service at a memorial – even with 2m distancing – and the only permissible service is within a place of worship. Services in a church are also restricted with only 50 people allowed at a time.

The rules are necessary to comply with level 3 of the Covid-19 restrictions which forbids outside gatherings of more than six people from two households.

North Ayrshire Provost Ian Clarkson, who is also North Ayrshire’s Veterans Champion, has called on North Ayrshire residents to mark the moment by joining a nationwide two-minute silence from the safety of their own home.

He said: ‘While it’s disappointing there will be no official public ceremonies this year on Remembrance Sunday, it is for a very good reason.

‘To protect each other’s health and well-being, we must follow expert advice which tells us not to gather in numbers.

‘However, just because we can’t join together in one place, doesn’t mean we can’t pay tribute to the fallen in our own way.

‘On Remembrance Sunday, I will be respecting the two-minute silence from my own doorstep and I would encourage North Ayrshire residents to do the same.

‘Although we may be apart from each other physically, we can still participate in a joint show of respect and support.’

Remembrance Sunday takes place on the second Sunday in November each year and Armistice Day, marking the end of World War One in 1918, is marked on the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month every year.