THE new month-long national lockdown has forced the cancellation of already scaled back commemorations in New Milton and Barton.
Organisers had still been hoping socially distanced gatherings at both the recreation ground’s war memorial and the clifftop Indian memorial could still go ahead before the government’s announcement on Saturday night.
As reported in the A&T, the usual large parade through the town centre had already been called off, along with the service of Remembrance at New Milton Memorial Centre, off Whitefield Road.
But now the shortened ceremony in New Milton, with wreaths laid by town mayor Cllr Alvin Reid and Royal British Legion local branch president Paul Jepson, will not go ahead.
Goff Beck, vice chairman of the local RBL branch, said the decision to call off both events on Sunday had been made “with a very sad and heavy heart”.
Posting on Facebook, Harmeet Singh Brar from Sikh Council Hampshire said he intended to still lay a wreath at the Indian memorial on Marine Drive as he has done for the last four years. But he urged people to pay their respects from home.
“As we must never forget the sacrifices made for our freedom today, however we must also fight the pandemic which had affected our lives this year,” he wrote.
“As such I will be laying a wreath in remembrance alone at the Indian soldiers memorial and will record the moment and share it with you all on social media.”
This year’s Poppy Appeal in Hampshire has seen people urged to do things a little differently to support the RBL’s work helping current and former service personnel and their families through hardships, injuries and bereavements.
Alternative methods in light of the pandemic include taking part in remote activities such as ordering poppies through the post for neighbours and the local community, printing and displaying poppies in windows or completing a virtual Poppy Run.
Fundraising ideas for this year’s appeal can be found at www.rbl.org.uk/poppyappeal