Remembrance Sunday – Curry Rivel to fivehead
We are aware there has been a lot of comment about Remembrance Services at Curry Rivel. With that in mind we publish below a letter of explanation. It comes from Phillipa Brett who is the secretary of the British legion for Curry and Fivehead. We publish it to clear up any misunderstanding about the way Remembrance was carried out this year:
I write to you as a Christian, a Parish Councillor, and the Secretary of the Curry Rivel, Drayton and Fivehead Branch of the Royal British Legion. For Remembrance this year, we had to be extra careful to follow COVID safety measures, following the Government agreement to ease lockdown restrictions to be able to hold events to commemorate this special day. All was going well, plans were made with safety measures put in place, until late on Thursday night, when the Government did a U-turn and changed 6 words on the Gov.UK website, stating events could only be held at public war memorials, with the local authority being responsible for safety measures.
No explanation as to which local authority they meant, and no local authorities received notification of their responsibilities for all events, nor that the rules had been changed at the last minute. Many events were planned by the Church, but as they were now not allowed to hold events on Church property and they are deemed unable to risk assess an event on public property, most of our local events had to be cancelled, some with just a few hours’ notice.
The Royal British Legion takes the safety of its members and representatives extremely seriously, so instructions were clear, that following the last minute changes; ‘Local authorities across the whole of the United Kingdom remain responsible for setting the parameters of an appropriate ceremony marking Remembrance Sunday in accordance with the Covid-19 restrictions relevant to that location.’
I therefore had to tell myself that I could not commemorate Remembrance Sunday as part of a Christian lead ceremony, I could not attend Curry Rivel or Drayton’s civic ceremonies as no risk assessments had been done by the local authority and the planned events with their planned safety measures had been cancelled, and our Branch could not ask our wreath bearers and standard bearer to attend and represent the RBL.
I did have a lovely period of exercise walking past the War Memorial at Fivehead on Sunday, with my husband who was practicing his Royal British Legion Standard Bearer drills. It was entirely coincidental that we were wearing face masks, gave our names to someone with a clipboard, and that we stopped, by ourselves, to admire our War Memorial at 11am and remember, in silence for a couple of minutes, those 14 men from our Village who gave their lives for our freedom.
(In case you were wondering, Fivehead Parish Council had managed the impossible and produced a risk assessment with the relevant safety precautions, just in the nick of time)
Now, about Armistice Day…..
Pip Brett; Parish Cllr, RBL Secretary & Churchgoer