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Low-key Remembrance Sunday 'will be about individual reflection'


Service: Les Boyd from the Waterside Branch of the Royal British Legion at the Cenotaph in Londonderry

Service: Les Boyd from the Waterside Branch of the Royal British Legion at the Cenotaph in Londonderry

Service: Les Boyd from the Waterside Branch of the Royal British Legion at the Cenotaph in Londonderry

Remembrance Sunday events are to be hugely scaled down next month due to coronavirus restrictions.

Branches of the Royal British Legion (RBL) organise services in different areas each year with the assistance of local councils.

In Londonderry, RBL's Waterside branch has arranged for a church service on November 8 with no more than 15 people.

The public has been urged to stay away from the Cenotaph between 10.45am and 11.15am, but can lay poppy wreaths at their discretion the rest of the day.

Online videos incorporating remembrance events will also be released throughout the week to allow for participation at home.

Les Boyd, chairman of the RBL Waterside branch, said: "It's more about individual reflection this year. As well as thinking about those in the past, we also want to look after those in the future who may be vulnerable and usually come to the Remembrance Day parades.

"We would also like people to do an act of remembrance at home, perhaps a two-minute silence outside their own front door, and put a poppy in their window."

Derry City and Strabane District Council confirmed the mayor had received an invitation to attend a Remembrance Sunday event at the War Memorial in the Diamond.

It added: "An invitation has also been extended to representatives from each political party represented on council and parties have been contacted to put forward their nominated representatives.

"Organisers have stipulated that no more than 15 people will be in attendance at the event in line with the latest restrictions around social gatherings."

Arrangements for the day in other areas are being discussed. Belfast City Council said the matter was "still under consideration", while Mid and East Antrim Borough Council said work was taking place with the RBL to mark Remembrance Sunday in line with current restrictions.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council said this year's arrangements have been "significantly impacted" but the mayor and deputy mayor will still attend commemorations in Antrim, Ballyclare, Glengormley, Crumlin and Randalstown to lay wreaths on behalf of the citizens of the borough.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council said no formal invitations from the RBL had yet been received, but work was under way and plans were being reviewed in light of the latest guidance.

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council said: "The council has always participated in Remembrance Sunday events led by the Royal British Legion.

"The mayor has been invited to lay a wreath at one event, with a limited number of attendees."

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council said it had yet to receive any formal invitation from the RBL, while Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council said it would abide by the RBL's risk-assessed protocols.

Ards and North Down Borough Council said support would be offered to the RBL if needed, while Mid Ulster District Council said any events would be organised by the RBL.

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is yet to comment on this year's arrangements.

In London, the RBL confirmed the traditional march past the Cenotaph will not take place.

Instead, people across the UK have been encouraged to take part in socially distanced acts of remembrance, including watching services on television or observing a two-minute silence outside their front door.

Belfast Telegraph