Veterans' fury that Remembrance Parade can't go ahead - but footie games can
- Credit: Archant
Norwich veterans say they're hugely disappointed this year's Remembrance Day parade will be pared back due to Covid — terming the decision "inconsistent and unjust".
Norwich City Council is "scaling back" its commemorations for "public health" reasons.
Whereas usually there would wreath-laying ceremony and a mass gathering, this year the ceremony will be invite-only and the parade cancelled.
A council spokeswoman said: "All of our standalone events that typically attracted larger crowds and involve road closures have been affected by the pandemic and we've had to make decisions in the interests of public safety given the high number of Covid cases in our area.
"We'll be marking Remembrance Day in a respectful and dignified way with a wreath-laying ceremony at the War Memorial which will be broadcast via YouTube.
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"Representatives of the armed forces and other dignitaries, such as the Lord Mayor, will be invited and will also attend the Service of Remembrance at Norwich Cathedral."
According to the spokeswoman, anyone else who wants to lay a wreath at the memorial, in their "own act of remembrance", is welcome to do so afterwards.
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But Phil Coates, a 44-year-old Royal Navy veteran, said the council's decision was "insulting".
The chief petty officer, who served between 1993-2016, explained: "I'm appalled the council has decided that veterans organisations are forbidden from parading in the traditional manner.
"It suggests Remembrance Sunday is for the 'few' and not the 'many'.
"It's unjust because we were celebrating what was termed Freedom Day back in July, and you see 26,000 fans attending Carrow Road every other week.
"Then you've got hundreds of revellers visit the city in the evenings and at weekends and huge music festivals are being held across the country.
"I find the council's excuses unacceptable."
Likewise Diana Keyzor, 54, joined the Women's Royal Naval Service in 1986 before a career change 25 years ago.
She argued that Remembrance Services were important as an opportunity for the public to pay respects to people who've lost their lives.
Criticising the council for "failing to understand the significance" of the event, she said: "How come five large events are planned in the run-up to Christmas, but this one can't go ahead?
"It's incredibly inconsistent."