A SPECIAL Remembrance Service will be streamed online in Oldham this year to ensure residents can safely commemorate those who gave their lives for our freedom.
This church service will be a closed event at Oldham Parish Church on Sunday 8 November at 11am.
It replaces the borough’s usual civic events across Oldham, Chadderton, Failsworth, Lees, Royton and Saddleworth.
This year’s plans, made in partnership with the Royal British Legion (RBL), have been made to ensure everyone can mark Remembrance safely during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Leader of Oldham Council, Councillor Sean Fielding, said: “It is very sad that we cannot come together as a community this year to remember those who have lost their lives in war.
“Whilst we wish things could be different, we have had to make a decision on how best we could still commemorate Remembrance safely.
“So while we will have to view Oldham’s Remembrance Service from home this year, please know that the sentiment of participating in a minute’s silence from home is just as meaningful and as heartfelt as it would be if you were at your nearby cenotaph.
“We ask everybody to politely respect this decision, for we are doing this for your safety and for the safety of our Royal British Legion who will be in attendance at our reduced service.”
Oldham is not the first area to make such a decision this year, with London’s televised service at the Cenotaph already announced as being a closed ceremony too.
Only Civic dignitaries and representatives from the RBL and service units will be in attendance to pay their respects at Oldham’s service this year, with members of the public instead being asked to watch the service from home via livestream.
Wreaths will be laid at Oldham’s six districts. However, the laying of the wreaths will not be accompanied by parades. Instead, this will be pre-recorded and streamed for people to watch on Remembrance Sunday.
Oldham’s Civic Tower and Oldham Parish Church will also be lit up with poppies for an entire week starting from Wednesday 4 November to the end of Armistice Day on Wednesday 11 November.
This display of remembrance will pay tribute to those who have given their lives for their country and is a gentle reminder that their sacrifice will never be forgotten – even during these difficult and uncertain times.
People are still welcome to visit their local war memorial to pay their respects, but we ask that they visit at a different time to their usual 11am service if they wish to lay their poppies and wreaths on the day.
This is to ensure we can protect everyone’s safety and prevent crowds from gathering.
There are of course many other ways you can still commemorate this memorial occasion, including donations to the Poppy Appeal.
While many of us are having to stay at home, some residents may not yet have had the chance to buy and wear their poppy this year.
If you would still like to make a donation, you can do so online by visiting The Royal British Legion’s website – www.britishlegion.org.uk
Additionally, you can add a tribute to their online field of remembrance and you can also download an A4 Poppy poster to display in your window.
Your donations make a huge difference to the lives of current and former service personnel, especially as support is given to those from all generations who are experiencing new hardships during the pandemic.
For more information on this year’s Remembrance Service, please visit www.oldham.gov.uk/RemembranceSunday