DETERMINED to mark this year’s Remembrance despite tough new Covid lockdown laws, the community of Pennington came together a few days early to lay wreaths at the village’s war memorial.
Representatives from St Mark’s Church, the local branch of the Royal British Legion and the town, district and county council, along with children from the village’s three primary schools and local veterans, gathered on Monday to record the act of remembrance.
Pupils, safe in their bubbles, will also record additional elements of the service, which will be shared online at www.youtube.com/c/PenningtonChurch
The Rev. Rachael Noel, of St Mark’s, said: “This will allow the local schools’ Remembrance service to be shared in each classroom, and for all the children to mark this important event, but without increasing any local risk.”
Since the first lockdown in March, St Mark’s and St Thomas Church in Lymington have moved worship online and live-streamed services via YouTube and Facebook.
So on Sunday, the Remembrance service, to be led by the Rev. Peter Salisbury and the Rev. Rachel, will go live at 10am on Youtube (www.youtube.com/c/PenningtonChurch)
It will incorporate footage of the act of Remembrance and wreath laying in Pennington put together by St Mark’s technical guru Paul Young and local photographer Helen Renouf.
The Rev. Peter said: “It is really important for our communities to acknowledge the sacrifice made by so many, for our safety today; but it is also important for us to find a way to do this that continues to keep people safe during these unusual times.
“We recognise that Remembrance is an important event for our community, and we invite anyone who wants to place a wreath or a poppy at the war memorials in Lymington or Pennington, to come at a time of their own choosing, separately to other people, ensuring they stay socially distant, and pay their respects.”
Commemorations have been almost entirely cancelled in New Milton and Barton, despite organisers hoping they could hold small, socially distanced gatherings at the memorials in the town and at the clifftop.
Goff Beck, vice-chair of the local Royal British Legion, said the decision had been made “with a very sad and heavy heart”.
Instead he will attend alone to lay the RBL wreath at the town memorial at 11am, and will later join RBL chair Ron Back, Harmeet Singh Brar from Sikh Council Hampshire, and bugler Ron Mangles for a low-key ceremony at the Indian memorial in Marine Drive.
Residents have been asked by BCP Council not to attend events in the area. In Christchurch there will be a short, private service including the town mayor Cllr Lesley Dedman and an armed forces representative.
BCP Council chair Cllr David Flagg said: “This year is unlike anything we have ever experienced before, and we recognise that many will be deeply disappointed.
“We encourage those who wish to mark the occasion to follow the live TV coverage from the safety of their own home and pause for the two-minute silence in their home or on their doorstep.”
In Milford, a sixth-generation villager whose grandfather died in the First World War, has stepped up to organise a Remembrance Sunday service with a difference.
Chris Hobby, a member of the RBL, told the A&T how he “couldn’t let this year’s Remembrance Sunday go without at least making an attempt to do something”.
He had an idea for a virtual ceremony and now, with the help of photographer Paul French, a pre-recorded service will be streamed online with clips presented at certain times to imitate a normal service. The event is supported by the Milford-on-Sea Historical Records Society.
Chris said: “This is an experiment. But what we’ve tried to do with the assistance of the active clergy at Milford is film parts of the church service, the field of remembrance and the laying of wreaths at the Milford War Memorial Hospital by local Scouts.”
In Ringwood the town council has teamed up with Ringwood TV to broadcast the service online as people have been urged to stay away from the war memorial from 10.30am-11.30am.
A small act of remembrance, including wreaths, tributes and the two-minute silence, will be livestreamed to the Ringwood TV Facebook page @ringwoodtvuk from 10.45am on Sunday, and made available later on the town council website www.ringwood.gov.uk.
Brockenhurst’s event was cancelled but a special church service has been recorded on video, including a wreath-laying, which will be available online from Sunday morning at www.brockenhurstchurch.com
Villagers were instead invited to make private, socially distanced visits to the war memorial. Captain Mike Matthews, chair of Brockenhurst RBL, said: “Though we should all stay safe, it is important the sacrifice is remembered this year and always.”
An early ceremony was held in Boldre at the war memorial at St John’s Church on Wednesday. The Rev. Canon Andrew Neaum led the brief commemoration with wreaths laid by members of the church, parish council, and other community organisations.
In Ashurst the remembrance service and wreath laying has been cancelled, but Christ Church, Colbury, will be live-streaming its 10am Sunday service over Zoom, with a short act of remembrance.
In Dibden Purlieu the Rev. Peter Toller will hold an hour-long service at St Andrew’s Church, which will be livestreamed on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ParishOfDibden) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/DibdenChurches). The service will include a minute’s silence and show the laying of wreaths, which will be recorded in advance.
Peter’s sponsored wreath-laying walk to memorials
FOUNDER member of Lymington Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club, Peter Stevenson, will be taking part in a sponsored walk on Sunday to lay wreaths at five of the Forest’s war memorials.
All the money raised will be shared between The Pilgrim Bandits charity, Lymington RBL’s Poppy Appeal and the breakfast club.
Peter will start his 20km trek at Milford War Memorial Hospital, going on to Keyhaven, St Mark’s Church in Pennington, South Baddesley, and finally Lymington.
“I hope to make it to Lymington war memorial in time for the two-minute silence at 11am,” he said. “Each donation will be much-appreciated.”
To sponsor Peter, go to www.gofundme.com/f/lymington-veterans-breakfast-club-remembrance-20
The Lymington group is part of a growing network of breakfast clubs across the UK and Europe, and provides an opportunity for like-minded people to meet for support or simply a chat.