Remembrance services adapt in line with COVID regulations

Remembrance service at Cardiff Central station
Train prepares to take poppies from Cardiff to London as part of 'Poppies to Paddington' initiative. Source: @GWRHelp (via Twitter).
Thousands of people across Wales took part in remembrance services to pay their respects to soldiers and veterans who have served the country.

By Sam Portillo | News Editor

This week, thousands of people across Wales took part in remembrance services to pay their respects to soldiers and veterans who have served the country.

Most events take place on the second Sunday of the month, which this year was November 8. On November 11 each year, this country and many others in Europe commemorate Armistice Day, the anniversary of the end of the First World War. November 2020 marks 102 years since the end of the First World War. In June, people commemorated 75 years since the defeat of the Nazi regime in Europe.

Lockdown rules allowed commemorations to take place outside with a maximum of 30 people in attendance, but some areas opted to broadcast events to an online audience instead. Wales’s circuit-breaker lockdown meant that Royal British Legion volunteers were not able to sell poppies as usual, instead leaving it to supermarkets to make them available.

Welsh Government officials gathered at the National War Memorial to pay their respects, with a live broadcast being made available online by Cardiff Council for people to watch along from home. The First Minister Mark Drakeford had encouraged people to mark the two minutes’ silence at their front doors, so as to maintain a sense of community while still observing social distancing.

A Great Western Railway train passed through Cardiff Central station early on Sunday, receiving wreaths as part of a ‘Poppies to Paddington’ initiative, before being delivered to London and incorporated into the remembrance ceremony at the Cenotaph.

In Aberystwyth, veterans and members of local organisations observed the two-minute silence at the town memorial without the crowds of people that they are accustomed to. Paul Hinge, a member of the local Royal British Legion branch, reflected on the unusual nature of events, saying: “normally we would be having a parade, where we’d have anywhere upwards of a thousand people marching.”

Tony Price, who lives in Cardiff, served with the Welsh Guards in the Falklands War and Northern Ireland conflict. Speaking to the BBC, he said: “I miss meeting up with the boys I served with. It’s an emotional thing, especially when you hear ‘The Last Post’ and the hairs stand up at the back of your head.”

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