Remembrance Sunday will look significantly different across Wales this year.
Wales’ fire-break lockdown will mean large gatherings will not be able to come together on the day when the country falls silent to remember members of the Armed Forces who have died in the line of duty.
First Minister Mark Drakeford has indicated that small commemorations on Sunday, November 8 will be allowed, adding that remembering sacrifice will be more important than ever now.
“There will be an exception for Remembrance Sunday,” he previously said.
“Those organised events that local authorities, the British Legion and other partners have already organised for Sunday, November 8, when we mark that national sacrifice… this seems to me more important than ever that we do that during a period where further sacrifices are being asked of us all.
“Organised events, small in scale and very different to previous years will be able to go ahead, but those are the only gatherings that will be an exception during the two week period of the fire-break.”
For the masses, The Daily Mirror has been campaigning to ensure our fallen forces heroes are remembered for their sacrifice by appealing to the nation to stand outside their homes in silence for two minutes at 11am on November 8. And political leaders have backed the call.
The Royal British Legion has set out a list of suggested activities that residents can take part in from the comfort of their own home.
- Have a small Remembrance service in your garden.
- Create a small Remembrance space in your garden, for example planting plants that have a connection.
- Use Zoom/ Facebook live event or another appropriate online meeting resource to host an online Remembrance service / activity.
- Set-up a community Remembrance forum to discuss different residents’ Remembrance stories.
- Create an online exhibition of Remembrance related photos from local residents that schools or others could use to discuss local Remembrance activities.
Ant Metcalfe, Wales Area Manager for the Royal British Legion added: “Whilst it is deeply disappointing that Remembrance events will be different this year, we understand that the decision has been taken to protect the health and well-being of all involved.
“The public can all still play a part in ensuring Remembrance Sunday is appropriately marked and the Royal British Legion are encouraging people to participate in their own personal moment of remembrance – whether that be watching the national Service of Remembrance on television or pausing for the two minute silence at home or on their doorsteps.”
Below, we’ve compiled a list of how different areas in Wales are planning to mark Remembrance Sunday. Some areas are yet to reveal their plans, and we will update this list as they are announced…
There will not be a Remembrance parade and service at the Bridgend War Memorial.
But Bridgend Town Council will fly military flags at the memorial on the weekend and the mayor of the town council, Alan Wathan, will lay a wreath on behalf of local residents.
He said: “The town council is committed to honouring the Armed Forces and remembering those that sacrificed their lives to serve their country but unfortunately due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is not safe to hold a large public gathering this year.”
The gates of the war memorial will be open from 9am to 4pm for organisations and the public to lay wreaths.
The council is advising people to follow social distancing and avoid laying wreaths at the memorial between 10.45am and 11.15am to prevent large crowds gathering there.
Bridgend County Borough
Bridgend County Borough Council and Great Western Railway are arranging for a wreath to be sent to London where it will be included as part of a national display.
Council leader Huw David said: “Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, we remain indebted to all those who have volunteered, served, fought or made the ultimate sacrifice for us, and we will continue to respect, honour and remember them.”
Find out about coronavirus cases near you:
Arrangements have been made this year which will allow members of the public to participate in the National Service of Remembrance for Wales, safely in their own homes.
For the first time, the service will be available to watch live on the Cardiff Council YouTube channel.
Coverage will start from 10.50am on Sunday, November 8, and can be viewed by clicking here.
Broadcast from the National War Memorial in Cardiff, the coverage will capture a small, socially distanced service, conducted by Reverend Canon Stewart Lisk.
In all, 15 wreath layers will take part in Wales’ national observance of Remembrance Sunday, which is jointly hosted by Cardiff Council and the Welsh Government, in partnership with The Royal British Legion.
They include, HM Lord Lieutenant for South Glamorgan, Morfudd Meredith, on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford MS, Leader of Cardiff Council councillor Huw Thomas and mayor Dan De’Ath.
A bugler from 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh will sound the ‘Last Post’ followed by a two minutes silence being observed at 11am.
Mr De’Ath said: “The National Service of Remembrance for Wales, held each year at the National War Memorial in Cardiff, is an important opportunity for us all to reflect, and pay our respects to the servicemen and servicewomen that have served, fought and died for our country.
“Normally Alexandra Gardens is full of people wishing to participate in the service, and while they will not be able to be with us in person this year, I am sure that they will still feel a part of Remembrance Sunday, as they watch the coverage from the safety of their own homes.”
There will be no parade through the streets of Carmarthen – and the laying of wreaths will involve very few people.
Carmarthen Town Council has confirmed that the usual parade from the town centre to St Peter’s Church will not take place and the public are asked not to gather in the town on the day either to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Town mayor Gareth John will walk from St Peter’s Civic Hall in Nott Square to the County War Memorial in Priory Street and lay a wreath at 11am on behalf of the people of Carmarthen, in commemoration of the fallen.
Mr John said: “Due to the ongoing situation with Covid-19 the traditional civic ceremony to mark Remembrance will have to be changed this year – but I am committed to upholding the time-honoured traditions of the town, especially for this most important of occasions in the civic calendar.
“To respect the requirements of the Covid 19 restrictions and to help prevent the spread of the virus it is also vital that members of the public do not gather on the Sunday morning as this would be counter-productive during this sensitive and challenging time for public health.”
Mayor Emma Leighton-Jones said: “After careful consideration and much thought, we have made the incredibly sad decision that we cannot run our Remembrance Events at the Cenotaph in Conwy or the Memorial Hall in Llandudno Junction.
“In line with national advice, we cannot safely hold any parades or official services of Remembrance on Sunday, November 8.”
Residents are being asked to observe the two-minute silence at home and follow events on social media.
In Llandudno, the service at the war memorial has been cancelled.
Mayor Angela O’Grady said: “We recognise the importance of this event to many in the town, but urge residents not to gather in large groups for their own safety.
“Instead, we ask that in these unprecedented circumstances, individual acts of remembrance take place.
“I will, of course, be laying a wreath on the day on behalf of the townspeople.”
Llanelli will also see no Remembrance Day parade and fewer civic leaders and dignitaries laying wreaths at the town hall.
The public are also being told not to congregate around the town hall area and will be moved on by police if they do.
Llanelli Veterans Association said an event will be held to “ensure the safety of all concerned”.
It has confirmed veterans on duty will gather by 10.20am for a 10.30am start at Llanelli Town Hall war memorial.
The Last Post will be performed at 10.58am.
On completion, all those attending will then be escorted off site.
There will be constraints on numbers, and some of those that can attend will have more than one duty to perform.
A statement read: “For those who would normally lay a wreath during this event in normal circumstances we hope you will understand and appreciate our decisions. Those who still wish to lay a wreath on the day can do so after the event.
“The advice from the local authority is that members of the public should stay at home during this period and we agree with this directive. On November 11 we will be having a small service by the memorial in the Parish church grounds.
“To finish off the veteran community of Llanelli hope that all stay safe and secure and look out for each other.”
Llangefni Town Council has said this year’s service in the area has been cancelled.
A statement read: “Unfortunately, in line with Government and local British Legion guidelines, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Remembrance Sunday Service and parade in Llangefni has been cancelled for this year.
“The town mayor, together with a handful of Veterans will be laying Wreaths at the Cenotaph with a Bugler present.
“Hopefully in 2021, the service and parade will resume as in the past.
“Photos will be released following the event.”
There will not be a Remembrance service this year at St Michael’s Church nor a remembrance parade at Maesteg War Memorial, Talbot Street. The Maesteg branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) will hold their own wreath laying service at an unknown date and time.
Maesteg Town Council and the local RBL branch are welcoming organisations from the valley to lay wreaths “in small numbers” from midday on Sunday November 8 until the official Armistice Day on November 11.
In a joint statement, they said: “Please remember to socially distance from others and not to gather with anyone outside of your household.”
South Wales Police will be present in the local area on the morning of Sunday, November 8 to keep an eye out for any gatherings which exceed the guidelines.
There will be no parades and no gatherings at war memorials.
Instead, mayor Howard Barrett, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council leader Kevin O’Neill, cabinet and ward Members will be laying a wreath where there is a war memorial within their ward, on behalf of the authority.
Those wards are Aberfan, Pant, Dowlais, Thomastown Park, Bedlinog, Cefn Coed, the Town Centre, Treharris, Trelewis and Troedyrhiw.
Any locked war memorials will be open from November 6 to 11 for people to lay their personal wreaths.
Mr O’Neill said: “Even though the event can go ahead, we encourage you to think whether it is truly necessary and sensible to attend.
“The purpose of this short lockdown is to create a concerted national effort to do everything we can to stop the spread of Covid-19 – and every individual’s contribution to that counts.
“As always, we wish to mark the occasion of Remembrance Sunday and to acknowledge those that lost their lives and remember the sacrifices made for us during the wars. Please stay home, keep yourselves safe.”
The Remembrance Parade has been cancelled to ensure public safety.
A statement from Neath Town Council reads: “It is with deep disappointment the Remembrance Parade on November 8 2020 will not be held this year.
“The annual parade which flows through the town centre is a well supported event and brings the community together to commemorate the sacrifices of many.
“Due to the ongoing local restrictions the rise in Covid cases locally, the parade has been cancelled to ensure public safety.
“If you so wish, you can join us in supporting Neath’s Remembrance Day locally in a slightly different way this year and place poppies in your windows from November 6 to 13.”
The Remembrance Sunday march from St Theodore’s Church to the Cenotaph in Pyle will not take place this year.
There will be a closed ceremony including a Remembrance Service and laying of wreaths that will be live-streamed on social media.
In Porthcawl, there will a small, outdoor service including a two-minutes silence and laying of wreaths at All Saints Church on Remembrance Sunday.
It is hoped a two-minute silence will also take place on Wednesday, November 11 at the bandstand on Jones Street.
How Remembrance Sunday looked across Wales last year…
Click to play
Tap to play
A short private service at the monument in Pencoed on Wednesday, November 11.
Rhondda Cynon Taf
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has announced its Festival of Remembrance will not go ahead.
No public parades will take place on the day in Torfaen.
Instead, this year Torfaen Council is supporting the Royal British Legion by encouraging residents to ‘remember’ at home, by watching televised events and sharing memories, photographs and tributes online.
Torfaen Armed Forces Champion, councillor Alan Jones, said: “The Remembrance period is vitally important to us all, in order that we can honour the service and sacrifice of the Armed Forces community.
“It is with regret that we cannot celebrate and remember in the usual way, but the safety of the public and all who would normally attend, particularly our older generation who are more vulnerable at this time, remains paramount.
“Please remember to ‘remember’ at home, follow the Covid-19 rules that remain in place and help keep Torfaen safe.”
Torfaen Council Leader, councillor Anthony Hunt added: “We are extremely proud of our Armed Forces community, and this year’s Remembrance day will of course be commemorated, but in a different way to usual.
‘Although it will be a little bit different this year, we are all still able to come together virtually to remember all the service men and women who bravely fought and gave their lives in order to give us the freedoms that we rightly celebrate today.”
Vale of Glamorgan
The mayor of the Vale of Glamorgan will be holding only a small invite-only remembrance service at the Merchant Navy Memorial at the Civic Offices in Barry at 11am on Wednesday, November 11.
It will not be possible for the council to gather with organisations, groups or members of the public this year.
However, the wreath-laying service will be streamed live on the council website and Facebook page for anyone that wants to observe it.
Residents wanting to pay personal respects are asked to do so after 11.30am on an individual basis in line with Welsh Government restrictions.
To further mark the occasion, the Western Shelter and Hood Road tunnel in Barry are being lit up in red, the colour of poppies.
There will be no parade in Wrexham this year, and only a very small closed service at the RWF memorial at Bodhyfryd – limited to a handful of key people, including representatives from the Royal British Legion and armed services.
You’ll hopefully be able to watch the service on Wrexham Council’s Facebook page.
Councillor David Griffiths, Wrexham Council’s Armed Forces Champion, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic is one of the greatest peacetime challenges this country has ever faced, and the need to keep people safe and observe government guidelines means there won’t be an open public service or parade in Wrexham this year.
“However, that doesn’t mean we can’t remember those who’ve suffered and given their lives in conflict, and I’m asking everyone in the county borough to take part in a two-minute silence from their doorstep.
“You can also watch the national service on television, and we hope to be able to share some footage from the closed service at Bodhyfryd online.
“Please don’t be tempted to just turn up at Bodhyfryd. The message from Welsh Government is clear…we all need to stay at home during the two-week lockdown if we want to help Wales get on top of the virus, reduce pressure on the NHS and save lives.
“We may not be able to come together this year…but together, we can still ‘remember them.’”