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PICTURES: Remembrance under lockdown – communities honour the fallen

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PEOPLE across the New Forest and Christchurch honoured the fallen differently this year as the pandemic forced the scaling-back of annual Remembrance Sunday commemorations.

There were comparatively modest and socially distanced wreath-laying ceremonies at war memorials in towns and villages including Lymington, New Milton, Ringwood, Burley and Fordingbridge following the cancellation of parades.

The Rev. Peter Salisbury, of St Thomas Church in Lymington, wore a face mask as he led a short service by the monument in the street outside.

As reported in the A&T, the Rev. Peter had already joined the Rev. Rachel Noel of Pennington’s St Mark’s Church in pre-recording a joint Remembrance service released that morning on the Pennington Church YouTube channel.

Many of the more muted gatherings still observed the two-minute silence, with buglers sounding the Last Post and Reveille.

The newly-enforced second national lockdown prompted the cancellation of New Milton’s already-reduced ceremony near the recreation ground’s memorial off Old Milton Road.

But Goff Beck, vice-chairman of the Royal British Legion New Milton branch, said: “It was so pleasing to witness on the morning itself the number of veterans, organisations and families who did gather quietly and socially distanced to pay their respects and observe the two-minute silence together.”

A similar low-key gathering took place that afternoon by the Indian War Memorial in Marine Drive, Barton. Those joining Mr Beck there included mayor Cllr Alvin Reid, Harmeet Singh Brar from Sikh Council Hampshire and bugler Rob Mangles.

Long-standing Poppy Appeal stalwart Diana Martin presented RBL New Milton branch president Brigadier Paul Jepson with four embroideries of poppies created over many weeks.

They will be displayed in the soon-to-be-refurbished Royal British Legion Memorial Room at New Milton Memorial Centre, off Whitefield Road.

In Fordingbridge, Rotary club treasurer Martin Calver laid a wreath at the war memorial gates, off Ringwood Road. Town mayor Cllr Edward Hale and the Rev. Canon Gary Philbrick, rector of The Avon Valley Churches, also attended.

Local police officers laid wreaths and paid their respects at a number of events.

In Christchurch, mayor Cllr Lesley Dedman and an armed forces representative attended a short, private service.

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