Poignant event comes in for some criticism

It was poignant and well-attended – yet a north Northumberland town’s Remembrance Sunday event has come in for criticism.

Amble’s November 11 commemoration has attracted complaints from some members of the community.

The negative feedback, which has been sent to Amble Town Council, included the lack of a loud speaker system during the event and issues surrounding the parade.

At Thursday night’s meeting, councillors admitted there were problems but defended the occasion.

Members are keen to iron out any issues to improve next year’s tribute.

In a letter to the town council, Amble resident Susan Swanston said that many people were ‘extremely disappointed at the lack of any loudspeaker system’ in the Town Square.

Amble Cadet Force’s detachment commander Sgt Hedley criticised the parade.

In an email, he said: “We were asked to ‘lead’ the parade this year but there was no parade to lead. We waited for others to join us but they were all just making their own way to the church so it was a complete waste of time.

“Maybe next year it will be better organised.”

The procession also went in the wrong direction, parading through a set of temporary bollards and onto Church Street, rather than parading up Queen Street which was officially closed to traffic especially for the parade.

Regarding this, Coun Robert Arckless said: “A genuine mistake appears to be made and next year we need to make sure everybody is aware of what needs to happen.”

He said it was a fair point to make about the sound system but said the event was ‘well organised’ and ‘one of the best we have had’.

Coun Helen Lewis said the sound system failed but added some people are reluctant to use it. Mayor of Amble Coun Ian Hinson praised the turnout and the event in general but accepted there had been failings.

He said: “We can’t brush it under the carpet. We have to deal with it, but if we do get these things sorted, I think it will be an excellent ceremony.”

After the meeting, clerk Elaine Brown said it appeared there had been a misunderstanding about the parade and it is hoped a meeting can be held prior to the 2013 event to address communication issues.

The town council is to look at purchasing sound equipment.