Marking Remembrance Sunday during the pandemic

As a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, remembrance events will be marked in different ways across Bridgend County Borough for 2020.

Many of the traditional local events organised by town and community councils will not be taking place this year because of the need to limit potential exposure to the coronavirus, maintain social distancing and avoid people from gathering in large numbers.

Instead, residents have been encouraged to stand upon their doorstep at 11am on Sunday 8 November to mark the two-minute silence from home, and to watch televised broadcasts of national remembrance services.

On behalf of the people of Bridgend County Borough, the council is working alongside Great Western Railway to arrange for a wreath to be transported to London Paddington where it will be included as part of a national display.

To support town and community councils in organising events where it is still safe to do so while helping them develop alternative ways of marking the occasion, Welsh Government has also issued official guidance.

This states that while parades must be avoided, outdoor acts of remembrance can go ahead if they can limit participants to no more than 30, including the event organisers, and ensure that all associated pandemic requirements on hygiene and social distancing are met.

Indoor services will not be possible, and while places of worship cannot open for acts of remembrance, faith leaders are able to access them (without a congregation) for the purpose  of broadcasting an act of worship e.g. over the internet or as part of a radio or television broadcast.

Singing, chanting and shouting should be avoided unless e.g. screens have been put in place by organisers, and while a bugle or trumpet can play the Last Post, this should be at a reasonable distance and directed away from other attendees.

Event organisers are encouraged to consider collecting contact details for attendees in order to support Test, Trace, Protect efforts, and are also advised to maintain a record of participants such as those who are laying wreaths.

People who remain within the ‘at risk’ category are advised to find alternative ways of marking the remembrance event safely.

Council Leader Huw David said: “One of the ways in which the Covid-19 coronavirus has impacted upon our lives during the pandemic is the effect it has had on the traditional Remembrance Sunday events organised by town and community councils.

“While this does not negate the deep respect that we all feel for our armed forces, nor our eternal gratitude towards those who have given their lives so that others may live, it does mean that we have all been forced to reconsider how we will demonstrate that respect this year.

“Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, we remain indebted to all those who have volunteered, served, fought or made the ultimate sacrifice for us, and we will continue to respect, honour and remember them.”

Town and community councils have confirmed that while no public events will be taking place this year, several will be staging smaller remembrance ceremonies.

Bridgend Town Council will lay a wreath early on Remembrance Sunday, and will ensure that military flags are flown at the town centre war memorial. The memorial gates will also be open so that further wreaths can be laid privately.

Llangynwyd Middle Community Council will lay a wreath on Friday 6 November at the Llangynwyd Village Hall cenotaph, while Porthcawl Museum will also be holding a remembrance service at RAF Stormy Down on Saturday 7 November.

To find out more on what remembrance events may be held this year, please contact your local town or community council for further details.