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Royal Borough remembers at COVID-safe Remembrance services

Royal Borough remembers at COVID-safe Remembrance services

Credit: Maria Scavetta

Respects were paid in the Royal Borough and surrounding areas as scaled back Remembrance Sunday services commemorated those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. 

In Maidenhead and Windsor, the traditional parade could not take place and crowds normally lining the streets were asked to remember at home.

Elsewhere, parish and town councils - including those in Cookham, Marlow and Wooburn and Bourne End - turned to live streaming to ensure people could watch services from the safety of their properties. 

The Royal Borough held private ceremonies at the war memorials in both towns. 

In Maidenhead, outside the Town Hall in St Ives Road, those invited to attend the closed event laid wreaths and observed a two-minute silence, with the vicar of nearby St Mary's Church, Will Stileman, conducting a service. 

Groups who laid wreaths included the scouts, emergency services, members of local rotary clubs, Girlguiding and the Salvation Army. 

Wreaths laid on behalf of groups. Credit: Maria Scavetta

Royal Borough mayor Cllr Saynonara Luxton (Con, Sunningdale and Cheapside) was there.

She said: "It was moving. In different circumstances, it was still wonderful. 

"All over the world there are wars going on and someone has lost somebody - even now, in the present. 

"It was very touching."

Ray Williams, a member of the town's Royal British Legion (RBL), added that the council did well to put the service on in such different times. 

"I thought the council organised it really well," Ray said. 

"They marked us out so we were all two metres apart when we were laying the wreaths. 

"It is a shame that the children and the youngsters were missing - I think it is important that they take part in these things. But with COVID, they couldn't.

"It was as good as we could do. Hopefully next year we can get back to normal."

Mary Spinks, president of the Rotary Club of Maidenhead, lays a wreath. Credit: Maria Scavetta

Ray added that there were 25 different wreath layers who were invited to attend the closed ceremony. 

"There are still members of the armed forces losing their lives every year," Ray said. 

"And as far as I am aware, there has been only one year since the First World War when no members of the armed forces lost their lives. 

"The other thing this year of course is there are 2,000 of the armed forces in Liverpool helping with the COVID lockdown, so if they are not fighting, it does not mean they are not doing anything."

The Royal Borough's managing director Duncan Sharkey described the service as 'smaller but no less respectful' via a tweet on Sunday. 

The Maidenhead war memorial on Sunday. Credit: Maria Scavetta

Elsewhere in Maidenhead, the fire station paused for a brief moment to remember those who gave their lives. 

Meanwhile, Maidenhead Golf Club raised more than £600 for the Royal British Legion by asking people to send in names of those they wish to remember and placed them on the course in time for the two-minute silence. 

"We might be in lockdown, but we will never forget," the club said on Instagram. 

Over in Windsor, a private ceremony was also held to mark Remembrance Sunday. 

Wreaths were laid on the war memorial by deputy mayor Cllr Gary Muir and from group representatives invited to attend.

The council's deputy Cllr Samantha Rayner (Con, Eton and Castle) and Cllr Neil Knowles (OWRA, Old Windsor) were among those in attendance:

A retirement village in Windsor also took time to remember those who have fallen with a two-minute silence and service in a safe bubble at Castle View in Helston Lane, led by resident Father Michael Morrisey.

Fellow resident Betty Hughes said: “It was very special being able to mark Remembrance Day ‘at home’, especially during the current lockdown, and to be led by one of our neighbours.

"We have a lovely community here, and this just typified the sort of thing that’s taking place all the time.”

In Ascot, an artist has enabled a blanket of purple poppies to light up Ascot War Memorial. 

Jenna Fox created the installation in conjunction with the War Horse Memorial – a charity dedicated to remembering the lives of service animals including horses, donkeys and mules used during the First World War.

The installation will be up for the duration of November and can be found opposite Heatherwood Hospital. 

Over in Burnham, young members of the 1st Burnham and Hitcham Scouts paid their respects by observing the two-minute silence on their doorsteps, as advised by the RBL. 

Hannah Ellis, 10, 1st Burnham and Hitcham Greybrother Cubs

Elsewhere in the village, a Remembrance service was held at the war memorial, attended by members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Slough.

President Atiq Ahmad Bhatti said: “This time of year is one of heartfelt remembrance for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our tomorrow.

"This year it is all the more poignant due to the coronavirus pandemic and the fact that some of us have lost those close to us, and thus the message and act of Remembrance is all the more pertinent."

The group also laid a wreath at a scaled back ceremony in Cippenham, Slough,  where the local reverend Jason Griffiths held a short service before group representatives made their way to the war memorial to lay a wreath.

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