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Remembrance Sunday service in Chatham cancelled for 2020 due to coronavirus with online commemoration planned for Medway

The traditional Remembrance Sunday commemoration in Chatham will not go ahead because of Covid-19 restrictions with all parades cancelled in the Medway Towns this year.

But contingency plans are being drawn up to ensure the Fallen are honoured in a remote way.

Remembrance Day service in Chatham in previous years - the commemoration event in 2020 has been cancelled
Remembrance Day service in Chatham in previous years - the commemoration event in 2020 has been cancelled

Nucleus Arts has suggested a remembrance video could be produced with those who normally take part reading a line each of an appropriate piece of poetry.

And a limited wreath-laying ceremony, which would normally attract thousands to the war memorial at Victoria Gardens, may be live-streamed.

Ward councillor Vince Maple, who has been overseeing the poignant proceedings for many years, said following advice from the Royal British Legion and Medway Safety Advisory Group, the parade through the town has been cancelled.

He said: “Every aspect of our normal Remembrance Sunday event is clearly impacted by the ongoing challenges with Covid-19 and although it is critically important to take time to remember and reflect for all those who have served our country and their families we must never put people’s own health and wellbeing in a position of risk doing so.

“Therefore with huge personal regret, we must say the parade elements of the event will not take place this year.

Medway remembers fallen soldiers and war casualties on Remembrance Sunday with the annual parade through Chatham
Medway remembers fallen soldiers and war casualties on Remembrance Sunday with the annual parade through Chatham

“Similarly, the mass gathering of between 1,500and 2,000 people together would be irresponsible at this current time.”

The council has also since confirmed all public parades on Remembrance Sunday (November 8) have been called off.

Cllr Maple, Labour group leader, praised the idea suggested by David Stokes, of Nucleus Arts, saying it would allow individuals and organisations in Chatham to pay their respects in a “different but safe way”.

He said the wreath laying at the memorial, normally attended by veterans, serving military, personnel, civic dignitaries and youth groups, including Scouts, Cubs, Guides and Brownies, would be limited due to social distancing and regulations in place at the time.

The service taking place at Victoria Gardens in Chatham
The service taking place at Victoria Gardens in Chatham

Cllr Maple said: “Can I finally thank everyone for their collective support throughout the years with the Chatham Remembrance service and parade.”

  • If you are interested in taking part in the video, get in touch with David Stokes by emailing david.stokes@nucleusarts.co.uk
  • If you are interested in potentially laying a wreath at a ceremony, contact Cllr Maple at his council email address vince.maple@medway.gov.uk

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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