Wokingham.Today

Remembrance at home: How the borough will honour the fallen in this Covid year

David Dunham from the Wokingham Poppy Appeal outside Tesco in Finchampstead Road recently. Picture: Phil Creighton

Every aspect of the borough’s normal Remembrance Sunday will be different this year as a result of the coronavirus situation: large gatherings are not allowed and church services are limited to 30 people.

However, it is still important to take time to remember and reflect for all those who have served our country and their families. Remembrance Sunday is on November 8.

Here is what is currently planned – although details may change in line with the latest coronavirus guidance from the Government.

Arborfield

Having consulted with the Royal British Legion and local authorities, Remembrance Sunday in Arborfield will be different to usual.

There will not be a parade featuring uniformed organisations and youth groups, serving personnel and also veterans, and there will not be a large gathering around the war memorial.

The parish council is urging residents to decorate the village with poppies, including placing one in windows of homes. It will produce a remembrance video, which features The Arborfield Military Wives Choir.

There will be a small wreath laying ceremony on the day, for which applications for places should be made to the parish clerk by emailing parishclerk@arborfield.org.uk. It is hoped to livestream the event and no one other than the agreed wreath layers should attend.

The parish council asks people to stay at home, but wear Sunday best as if you were at the cross, and stand on doorsteps at 11am for a minutes silence.

Remember at Home photos can be sent to to parishclerk@arborfield.org.uk

Crowthorne

St John the Baptist Church Crowthorne is inviting the community to spend a few moments of quiet during the week of remembrance at the Lychgate War Memorial. Visitors can plant a poppy into the oasis by the memorial.

Earley

Earley St Peter’s Church will hold an invitation-only act of remembrance around the war memorial.

It will be a shortened service that begins witha two-minute silence and see a limited number of people attend including Earley town mayor, representatives from uniformed organisations and the churchwardens. It is hoped to livestream the event.

There will be a short Morning Prayer at 10am that day, but those coming are asked to leave the church grounds immediately at the end of the service to allow those arriving for the Remembrance Service to come in safely.

Finchampstead

Coronavrius means that the usual services will not be held at either St James Church or the war memorial.

At 10.50am, there will be a pre-recorded service of remembrance, and a 3pm service will feature the usual elements of the war memorial event.

As roads around the war memorial will not be closed, St James is opening a field of remembrance on the green area at the church’s entrance opposite the Queen’s Oak pub.

It will feature a cross, the names on the memorial and some prayers printed on lamented sheets.

It opens from 3pm on Monday, November 2, and will remain open until Wednesday, November 11, when Canon John Edwards and the Revd Gemma Donnell will relocate any poppies and wreath to the memorial cross.

Hurst

Pre-booking to attend a service of remembrance is required. St Nicholas Church is to hold the service on Sunday, November 8, from 10.45am. Government rules require attendance to be limited to 30 people socially distanced. To accommodate those who wish to participate, sister church St Mary’s in Twyford hopes to livestream their service over the internet.

For more details, or to book a place, email witsend50pat@gmail.com. Closing date for applications is Monday, November 2.

Ruscombe

As with Hurst, pre-booking is essential. There are two services at St James’ Church: at 8.45am, there will be an act of remembrance. This will be followed at 9am by a remembrance service.

To book a seat, email stjameswarden@thru-christ.org.uk. Closing date for applications is Monday, November 2.

Shinfield

Villagers are being asked to fill Shinfield with poppies ahead of Remembrance Sunday in lieu of their attendance at School Green.

Instead of the large act of remembrance around the war memorial, there will be three socially distanced ‘parades’ of no more than six people each, processing through the village bearing poppy wreaths. The parades will come from three different directions, taking in as many houses as possible and feature representatives of the armed forces and local community.

All parades will all converge on School Green where there will be a short service which will be live-streamed – people should view from home if possible.

In the service the Parish Council Chairman, Andrew Grimes, will lay a large wreath that lists the 20-plus people and organisations who usually lay wreaths. A silence will be observed at 11am.

Following the service, personal wreaths may be placed on the war memorial but follow social distancing rules and do not congregate around the war memorial.

Swallowfield

An Act of Remembrance will take place from 10.50am to 11.10am in the parish hall car park and surrounding pavements. If needed, people can also stand in the recreation ground. A PA system will be used to ensure that those attending can socially distance themselves from others.

There will be an opportunity to give to the Poppy Appeal.

Twyford

There is no annual Scout parade this year as a result of the coronavirus restrictions.

Tom Toy, from Twyford Scouts, said: “We shall have a very limited attendance at the War Memorial service and in the church but it isn’t appropriate to organise a proper parade.”

He hoped that some Scouts would walk to the church and back with flags, but this will not be a procession.

St Mary’s Church is to hold a remembrance service from 10.30am, with spaces limited according to government guidance.

It is planned to livestream the service via YouTube and on its Facebook page – search for THRU Christ.

To book a seat, by Monday, email stmarys-bookings@thru-christ.org.uk

Wokingham

Wokingham Town Council (WTC) says, after careful consideration, to retain elements of its civic traditions while also providing opportunities to share Remembrance in a different way and it hopes that its plans can still be appreciated by many.

This includes the annual service at All Saints Church at 3pm on Sunday, November 8. Led by the Revd Canon David Hodgson, numbers will be limited but include the Town Mayor, the High Sheriff, the High Steward and representatives from uniformed organisations. In addition, there will be spaces available for members of the public if they have booked a place in advance, via www.allsaints wokingham.org.uk/events/wokingham-civic-remembrance-service/.

Name and address details will be captured, upon booking, for track and trace purposes so that the church holds a record of who is in its building.

For those unable to attend it broadcast live on YouTube at the All Saints Church Wokingham YouTube channel.
There will also be two-minute silences at 11am on both Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day on Wednesday, November 11. It is hoped to livestream this, but spaces will be available for up to 30 people in the triangle by the town hall.

Wokingham Town Council will not be taking responsibility for social distancing from the paved areas in front of the retailers.

The war memorial, inside the Town Hall will be accessible to residents for quiet reflection or to add a wreath or a cross. A pre-booking system is in place, with spots between 10am and 2pm daily from Saturday, November 7 to Wednesday, November 11. Access cannot be guaranteed if a booking has not been made in advance.

Track and trace systems will be in place. To book a slot to visit the memorial, please see www.ticketsource.co.uk/wokingham

Crosses are available from the Town Hall’s Information Centre on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 10am and 2pm and these can also be placed outside in our Market Place where a stand is provided next to the soldier silhouette.

Cllr David Lee, chairman of Wokingham Town Council’s Civic Committee, said: “I am very pleased that Wokingham is doing all it can to mark Remembrance in a safe way. We have given a lot of careful thought about how this can be achieved, and I urge our residents to be respectful at this time.”

Echoing his comments, Wokingham town mayor Cllr Tony Lack said: “It is so important that we still pay tribute to all of those who gave their lives in wars and conflicts.

“I shall be honoured to be attending the Church Service and leading both the two-minute silences this year and I am pleased that although not so many can join me, arrangements are being made for you to Remember from Home”

As with all events, Wokingham Town Council will continue to monitor government guidelines and hopes to deliver all of the above, but activities are subject to change.

Woodley

Remember at home – that’s the message from Woodley Town Council for this year’s Remembrance events.

It is to compile a montage of organisations and schools, along with the Town Mayor, with their wreaths of remembrance. These will be published on its website, and social media platforms on the morning of Wednesday, November 11, in time for the two-minute silence.

Anyone wishing to lay wreath at the war memorial can still do so, but these should be booked with Linda Matthews by Wednesday, November 4. Photos will be taken on Monday, November 9 and Tuesday, November 10, under Covid-secure procedures.

To lay a wreath, email linda.matthews@woodley.gov.uk

While the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the Poppy Appeal this year, a community of staff, volunteers, partners and suppliers have been working together to ensure it is able to go ahead and the nation can take part in Remembrance activities.

The safety of the public, staff, members and volunteers is a top priority and they are working with charity regulators and the relevant local and national authorities to ensure that all activity is safe and in alignment with both national and regional regulations.

Local collectors will have new ways for people to donate including unique QR Codes and Contactless Machines to ensure the safety of those collecting and those choosing to donate in person.

In Wokingham town centre, donation points where Poppy Appeal merchandise and collectors’ items will be available are:

  • McColls newsagents, Peach Street
  • Nationwide, Broad Street
  • Brown Bag, Denmark Street
  • Town Hall Information Centre, Market Place
  • Friday/Saturday Market, Market Place
  • Squires garden centre, Heathlands Road
  • Henry Street Garden centre, Arborfield
  • Tesco, Finchampstead Road
  • California Post Office
  • Creswell’s garage, Finchampstead
  • Alternatively, log on to www.rbl.org.uk/poppyappeal and click on ‘Donate’ or call the fundraising team on 0845 845 1945.

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