This year, in line with government guidance, Swindon Borough Council is urging residents to mark Remembrance Sunday (8 Nov) at home.
In light of the new lockdown restrictions, which came into force today (5 Nov), the Government has issued guidance to local authorities across England to ensure that the public is able to honour Remembrance Sunday safely.
To comply with the guidance, the Council is asking members of the public to avoid organising or attending any public remembrance events and instead commemorate those who gave their lives from home. Residents are permitted to pay their respects at a burial ground or remembrance garden, but must ensure they are following coronavirus guidance, particularly around social distancing.
While marking Remembrance Sunday at home, residents are asked to observe the latest national guidelines which can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus. Key guidance to follow includes:
- Stay at home – do not leave or be outside of your home except for specific purposes, including childcare or education, work purposes, shopping for necessities and for medical reasons
- Face masks – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
- Space – stay two metres apart from people outside your household, or one metre with extra precautions (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)
- Hand washing – wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
One of the most common ways to show support on Remembrance Sunday is by donating to the Royal British Legion and buying and displaying a poppy. However, following the introduction of the new coronavirus restrictions, purchasing a poppy from a volunteer may be difficult.
To ensure the public are still able to show their support, this year the Royal British Legion is asking people to donate online, over the phone or by post, after which they will be sent a link to download an A4 poppy poster which can then be displayed proudly in windows at home.
The 2020 Lydiard Park Field of Remembrance, located in the Walled Garden and organised by the Royal British Legion, is currently closed to the public due to lockdown restrictions. It will reopen on Sunday (8 Nov) from 11.15am to 4pm and from Monday (9 Nov) to Sunday, 22 November from 11am to 4pm. Residents can also leave a virtual tribute to our Armed Forces on the Royal British Legion website.
For the first time, the Cenotaph at Whitehall in London will be closed to the public this Remembrance Sunday. Around 10,000 members of the public usually gather at the Cenotaph each year for the National Service of Remembrance and the two-minute silence at 11am.
Although the service will go ahead with a small list of select attendees, the general public are instead urged to remember all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice by marking a national moment of silence at 11am as the service is broadcast nationwide.
Residents who wish to honour Remembrance Sunday are encouraged to view the service on television and observe the moment of silence safely from home.
In Swindon, a small wreath-laying service, risk-assessed and strictly in line with the updated Government guidance issued this week, will be held at the Cenotaph on Sunday with 10 local dignitaries. Members of the public are advised not to attend the event due to the risk it may pose to public safety.
For those who wish to mark Remembrance Sunday at places of worship, these will remain open for independent prayer, but residents must adhere to social distancing guidelines at all times.
Councillor David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “Remembrance Sunday is very significant for many of our residents and honouring those who gave their lives is extremely important.
“This year more than ever, we are reminded of the debt that we owe to those who protected our country in its darkest hours, and while this year’s commemorations will differ from tradition, it is vitally important that we still take the time to pay our respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“By honouring Remembrance Sunday from home, residents will still be able to play their part in acknowledging the sacrifice made by so many, while protecting the most vulnerable in our community, including our veterans.”
Full government guidelines in place from today (5 Nov) can be found on the Government website here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november
Donations can be made to the Royal British Legion here: https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/ways-to-give/donate?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term