Commemorative events to honour Remembrance Sunday in Darlington will take place differently this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The town’s traditional parade and civic service will not go ahead – as social distancing cannot be safely maintained – while the cenotaph wreath-laying ceremony will be scaled back.
Instead, a small event will take place on Sunday, November 8 to remember those who died in wars and other military conflicts around the world.
The Mayor of Darlington Chris McEwan and Councillor Heather Scott, leader of Darlington Borough Council, will lay wreaths on behalf of the authority and residents at the cenotaph in the grounds of Darlington Memorial Hospital.
Councillor Brian Jones, the council’s Armed Forces Champion, will also attend, as will the Deputy Lord Lieutenant, the Commanding Officer, 50 Signal Squadron 37 Regiment and a Royal British Legion representative.
With attendance being so restricted, a video will be made of the event and posted on the council’s Facebook page on Remembrance Sunday.
Arrangements have been made for armed forces organisations and charities – who are not able to attend – to have wreaths laid on their behalf at the cenotaph.
The Mayor and Councillor Scott will also lead a minute’s silence from Darlington Town Hall at 11am on Wednesday, November 11, in a private ceremony.
Councillor Scott said: “We have taken the decision to scale back Remembrance events in Darlington this year with a heavy heart.
“As a community, we have made many sacrifices this year in the face of Covid-19, and this is one of the most regrettable, but we must do the right thing to ensure the safety of our veterans and their supporters.
“Although the event may be smaller, it will do nothing to diminish our unwavering support for our veterans and those who have given their lives in conflicts around the world.
“We hope people will continue to show their support for the Royal British Legion, and hope that we can return to our traditional Remembrance events in 2021.”
Councillor Jones added: “This year’s Remembrance events will unfortunately be a lot different than they have been in previous years.
“However, safety is paramount during these uncertain times, and we have had to take unprecedented measures to ensure peoples’ wellbeing.
“As the council’s Armed Forces Champion, I’m sure that despite the changes we’ve had to make to our Remembrance programme, the town’s support for our veterans, and those who have lost their lives in conflicts around the world, will remain as strong as ever.”