Anger erupts at timing of town's Remembrance event

Anger has erupted at the timing of Alnwick's Remembrance Sunday service.

Thursday, 15th November 2018, 8:24 am
Updated Thursday, 15th November 2018, 9:29 pm
Armistice Centenary - 11am on November 11, 2018, at Alnwick War Memorial. Picture by Tracey Sprigg

The Gazette has been contacted by residents who were upset that the town’s parade and service to mark Armistice Day, and the centenary of the end of the First World War, was held in the afternoon and not at 11am.

The town’s church service on Remembrance Sunday was at 2.30pm, followed by a parade to the war memorial, where wreaths are laid by dignitaries, councillors, community groups and more.

But this year, as November 11 was on Sunday, there have been complaints that it was not held at 11am – when the war officially ended.

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John Atkin said: “It speaks volumes for the few people at Alnwick War Memorial at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month who asked why our local politicians/councillors arranged for this once-in-a-lifetime commemoration to take place in the afternoon.

“Surely, it would not be too much to ask for the act of Remembrance to be at the correct time. It is quite shameful that they couldn’t get this once-in-100-years event right.”

Another aggrieved resident who wrote to the Gazette (see page 39 of this week’s paper), said the lack of service at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month on the centenary of Armistice was ‘disrespectful’ and ‘disgusting’.

Bill Batey, clerk to Alnwick Town Council, said: “The Alnwick Service of Remembrance has for many, many years, like a number of others across the county, been held in the afternoon.

“The timing works well for several individuals and organisations who attend the afternoon Alnwick service and parade and who also attend other services in the morning.

“For example this year, the Pipe Band, the RAF Boulmer personnel and the Ashington Sea Cadets were all on parade at morning events. I cannot recall anyone mentioning that the timing should be changed.

“This year, 600 people attended the church service and some 400 were involved in the parade to the war memorial where 40 wreaths were laid in remembrance.”