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Mayor to lead online remembrance events on behalf of the borough

News release 9800, published on 21 Oct 2020
Residents across Basingstoke and Deane are being encouraged to remember the service and sacrifice of the Armed Forces and veterans of both world wars and other conflicts from home this November to help in the fight against COVID-19.

Following a rise in the number of national cases and advice from the government on gatherings, The Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Cllr Diane Taylor will lead tributes on behalf of the borough virtually this year.

Members of the public are encouraged to join the Mayor in remembering those who sacrificed their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today on her social media channels throughout the day on Remembrance Sunday (8 November) and Armistice Day (11 November).

The Mayor and the Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire Lady Louisa Portal MBE will lay a wreath at the war memorial on behalf of the borough in a video on social media and lead a two minute silence on Remembrance Sunday. The High Sheriff of Hampshire, Reverend Sue Colman, will give a short address.

On Armistice Day, the Mayor will be joined by Interim Chief Executive of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Ian Boll to lay a wreath in a video on social media and hold a two minute silence to mark the exact time that the First World War officially ended.

Individuals and organisations who usually take part in the two services, including representatives from the Armed Forces, police, fire service, cadets, scouts and other local associations, schools and organisations, will be encouraged to lay wreaths separately at the war memorial between Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day, avoiding the time around 11am on each day, in order to maintain social distancing.

The public will also be able to place their own poppy crosses in individual remembrance of relatives or friends during this time, again avoiding the 11am times on both days and observing social distancing and rule of six restrictions. Poppy crosses as well as traditional poppies will be available to purchase from supermarkets across the borough and the Royal British Legion website at www.poppyshop.org.uk/

The Mayor said: “It is disappointing that we have had to take the difficult decision to commemorate remembrance events virtually this year but keeping our residents safe, including veterans who normally attend the service, has to come first.

“In remembering the sacrifices of those who fought so bravely and times where the nation pulled together for the freedoms we enjoy today, it is just as important that we do the same and continue to follow the government guidelines to ensure we beat COVID-19.

“Please join me in honouring those who fought so bravely by standing still at 11am at home on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day for a two minute silence and do follow @BasingMayor on Twitter and @BasingstokeMayor on Facebook on both days as I pay tribute to our veterans and Armed Forces.”

Chairman of the Basingstoke and Overton branch of The Royal British Legion Frank Connolly added: “It is so important that Remembrance is kept alive and that the sacrifices of our brave servicemen and woman are never forgotten, even if we are unable to mark this as we normally would during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To protect our volunteers from the virus, poppies will be sold in a number of the borough’s supermarkets and on the Royal British Legion’s website and I hope people will still continue to support our vital work to provide financial and emotional support to all members of the British Armed Forces.”

We will remember them.

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